TAMPA — When Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and other city officials gathered Monday for a news conference on the Super Bowl, one blue uniform was conspicuously absent.
Police Chief Brian Dugan planned to be at the event held a day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the NFC championship game, clinching a spot in the first-ever hometown Super Bowl. It would have been Dugan’s first public event after a bout with the coronavirus. But the chief tested positive again for the virus on Saturday, delaying plans to emerge from quarantine.
Dugan, 54, finally tested negative on Wednesday and returned to the office on Thursday, 11 days before the Bucs face off against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.
“Tested negative today, back in the building tomorrow,” Dugan said in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday.
Dugan tested positive for the virus on Jan. 10 after coming down with headaches, a stuffy nose and a fever of just over 100 degrees. He planned to work from home but told the Times on Jan. 13 that he didn’t have much energy to do more than check in with command staff a couple of times a day.
In a phone interview on Monday, Dugan said his condition slowly improved over the course of the last two weeks so he was able to do more work, but he’s still wasn’t feeling 100 percent recovered. He regained enough strength to take his dog for walks and his mind is clearer, but the raspy cough is lingering.
“With the Super Bowl and everything going on, I need to be at work,” Dugan said. “I get tired easily, but I’m ready to come back.”
Dugan got the first round of the coronavirus vaccine on the Monday before his diagnosis and said he is still making plans to get the second dose.
Dugan’s wife Diana initially tested negative for the virus after Dugan tested positive but she wound up testing positive last week and had symptoms that Dugan described as like “a couple of days with a bad cold.” She has since tested negative, Dugan said.
“She’ll tell you it’s because she’s a badass and I’m I wimp,” he joked.
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