METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson tested positive for the coronavirus and is “progressing well and improving daily” in her recovery, according to team spokesman Greg Bensel.
“She was not hospitalized and is recovering at home,” Bensel said in a statement, noting that Benson “has not missed a daily work call with Saints and Pelicans staff, nor has she missed an NBA or NFL owner call in recent days.
“She thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” Bensel said.
Benson, 73, attended practice earlier in training camp before testing positive for the virus at some point in the last couple of weeks. She was never staying at the team hotel in downtown New Orleans.
So far in training camp, three Saints players have tested positive — but all three were described as “false positives,” with players quickly being removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Saints created an optional bubble-like atmosphere at the downtown Loews hotel throughout camp, with Benson paying the hefty cost to rent out four floors for their private use. Coach Sean Payton estimated that about 150 of 180 members of the organization would stay there.
Payton also tested positive for the coronavirus in the spring, though he recovered quickly with relatively minor symptoms.
Benson is not the first NFL or NBA owner to test positive. Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill recovered from the virus in July, and New York Knicks owner James Dolan recovered from the virus in the spring.