Former Saints Kicker Tom Dempsey in Hospice Care After Testing Positive for Coronavirus

The former NFL player, who has dementia, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26

Tom Dempsey
Tom Dempsey. Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Former NFL star Tom Dempsey is receiving hospice care after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Tom, 73, has lived at the Lambeth House Retirement Community in New Orleans, Louisiana, since 2012, when he revealed that he has dementia. The assisted living facility has been a hotbed of the contagious virus, with more than 50 confirmed cases and 13 deaths related to the illness.

The former Saints placekicker tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26 after being taken to a hospital the day before because he had exhibited symptoms, his family told

Tom then returned to his apartment at the Lambeth House, his daughter, Ashley Dempsey, told the outlet, and was given medication.

On Tuesday of this week, he woke up with no fever, giving the family hope that Ashley said ended up being premature.

“We thought we were out of the woods with the no fever,” she said. “It was wishful thinking.”

Tom’s appetite left with the fever, and his oxygen levels dropped Wednesday morning, Ashley told

The development in his condition prompted Ashley and the rest of the Dempsey family to hire a hospice care agency to take care of Tom at the Lambeth House. The agency was able to provide oxygen equipment, and Tom’s oxygen levels had improved by Wednesday afternoon, Ashley said.

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Ashley and the family are hopeful that Tom’s condition will only continue to improve and that the hospice agency will no longer be necessary, she told

It appears as though the outbreak of cases at the Lambeth House is evening out, as there were no known cases of the virus facility’s independent living section as of March 31, a spokesperson for the facility told WWLTV, and no new tests had been ordered in the past five days.

The outlet reported that one in 10 of the deaths in New Orleans from COVID-19 took place at the Lambeth House.

Tom cemented his place in Saints football history when he beat the record for longest field goal by seven yards in a game against the Detroit Lions in 1970.

Louisiana has become one of the states with the most cases in the country, with at least 9,150 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 310 deaths related to the virus as of Thursday. Nationwide, there are at least 234,483 confirmed cases and 5,708 related deaths.

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. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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