Saints aim to reduce Covid-19 numbers with hotel move, Payton says

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The New Orleans Saints are moving players and team personnel to a downtown New Orleans hotel as the franchise looks to improve its chances of limiting Covid-19 exposures through training camp.

Saints coach Sean Payton said the team came to the decision after looking at the percentages.

“If there's 80 players and then another, call it 90 or 95 people, coaching, training, equipment, total number of people in your first or second tier, let's call it 170,” Payton said. “Basically, every day those 170 go home and then come back the next day. So you have 170 stories (in contact with different people and things) each day.”

He said the team is expecting there to be cases as multiplying the number of players and personnel by the number of days in a week, and then the number of weeks in a month, and months in the season creates several opportunities to for exposure.

“You're just trying to reduce those numbers,” Payton said. “And I think that can just help your team then.” 

The team is currently set to inhabit Loew’s Hotel and although the strategy might be similar to what the NBA and NHL are doing, those leagues have formed bubbles to insulate their sports from the virus, Payton said he’s still expecting positive tests from players and team personnel as New Orleans isn’t enacting as strict policies.

“When you're not in one of those bubbles then you're going to have positive tests,” Payton said.” I don't care, all the tracing and all the social distancing and all the beepers you where or everything that we have in place in the building, you're playing tackle football, you are lockering next to each other. So you just have to understand, Hey, there's going to be a certain amount of positive tests.”

Payton said he expects a majority of the organization to stay in hotel. 

"I'm sure there'll be a handful of players (or) people that won't be, and yet, that's fine,” he said. “We've already improved our chances. If we can take that number 170 down to 25, then we've certainly helped ourselves.”