The NFL coach announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19

By Georgia Slater
March 26, 2020 09:53 AM
Sean Gardner/Getty

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been cleared of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) nearly one week after he announced testing positive for the respiratory illness.

On Wednesday, the 56-year-old called into Louisiana radio show Sports Talk with Bobby Hebert & Kristian Garic, where he shared that he had recovered from COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms for over a week.

“I was cleared yesterday,” he said on the show. “It’s been quite a process, and you spend a lot of time trying to learn as much as you can about it. We’re certainly seeing it on the news 24/7.”

RELATED: Sean Payton Says He’s ‘Progressively Got a Little Better’ Every Day as He Battles Coronavirus

The coach explained that when he began to experience “some flu-like symptoms,” he got tested for the virus and began to self-quarantine the following day.

“When you’re basically at home with the symptoms that I had, 85 to 90 percent of people will have mild symptoms and recover fully,” he explained.

“The CDC basically puts out, prior to getting cleared, [that] you have to be three days fever-free, [and] a week from when you first felt symptoms. I’m closer to 10 days now,” Payton said.

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“I’ve been fortunate,” Payton noted of his health, adding that he is “feeling a lot better.”

RELATED: Saints Coach Sean Payton Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Making Him the First Known Case in NFL

The coach also went on to urge the public to “pay attention to every single detail” that government and health officials share during this time.

“Because when you look at the numbers and you look at what’s happened, when two goes to six and six goes to 28 and the next thing you know you’re at 500, it just tells you how contagious this is,” Payton said of how quickly the disease can spread.

On Monday, Payton video chatted into Good Morning America to discuss his current health with co-host Michael Strahan.

“I’m feeling ok,” Payton said at the time. “It’s been a week now since I’ve been tested. Last week on Monday, I had chills and low-grade fever.”

Continued Payton, “I’ve progressively got a little better each day — I haven’t had too deal with respiratory issues.”

The coach publicly announced on March 19 that he tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first known person in the NFL to contract the disease.

Payton told ESPN when he was first diagnosed that he was one of the few cases of coronavirus that did not show the common symptoms, such as a high fever and cough.

“I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have,” he told ESPN. “I’m lucky.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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