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Bucs assistant coach tests positive for coronavirus

Bruce Arians' staff returned to the team facility for the first time this week.
The season opener is still months away, but in the first week back at Bucs offices for coaches, the team has a coronavirus case.
The season opener is still months away, but in the first week back at Bucs offices for coaches, the team has a coronavirus case. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Jun. 19, 2020
Updated Jun. 19, 2020

TAMPA — A Bucs assistant coach has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed.

The coach is asymptomatic for COVID-19, but two other assistant coaches have been quarantined, which was first reported by ESPN on Thursday night.

Bruce Arians’ staff returned to the Bucs team facility for the first time Monday. Health protocols in place included daily thermal screening, capacity limits in meeting rooms and designated one-way hallways and stairwells. Coaches had to wear facemasks inside the building and could only take them off when their office doors were closed.

Previously, the Bucs’ facility — the Advent Health Training Center, located just east of Raymond James Stadium in West Tampa — was open only to no more than 75 employees, most of them on the business side. The only players allowed in the building were those who were already rehabbing injuries before the virus prompted the facility’s shuttering in mid-March.

The team had no comment on the report as of late Thursday night.

Related: Bucs coaching staff returns to team facility with precautions in place

Earlier this week, multiple Cowboys and Texans players tested positive for the coronavirus, including Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

And on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House task force on the coronavirus, said that “it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall” unless players remained in an isolation bubble and were tested every day.

Wearing a facemask, Bucs coach Bruce Arians reports to the team facility Monday, the first day the team's coaching staff was allowed back into the building. Now, one of Arians' coaches has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Wearing a facemask, Bucs coach Bruce Arians reports to the team facility Monday, the first day the team's coaching staff was allowed back into the building. Now, one of Arians' coaches has tested positive for the coronavirus. [ Bucccaneers.com ]

“If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year,” Dr. Fauci told CNN.

That prompted responses from medical experts from both the NFL and the player’s union.

Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus cases in Florida and in Tampa Bay continues to spike. On Thursday, there were 3,207 new reported infections, marking the 16th consecutive day of more than 1,000 new cases.

Both Hillsborough (337 new cases) and Pinellas County (203) set record-high single-day case numbers, and Tampa Bay accounted for 21 percent of the state’s new cases Thursday, despite making up just 13 percent of Florida’s population.

Related: Florida sees record 3,207 new coronavirus cases with new highs for Tampa Bay

“It’s real,” Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said Tuesday when asked about returning to the facility as the virus remained. “And I think everyone, especially us as a staff, with the understanding of so many of us having people who were affected by this virus, that we’ll give it the respect that it deserves and we’ll do whatever we need to do to be as safe as possible. That’s our only mindset, let’s try to be as safe as possible right now, especially right now until hopefully we can get this thing under control.

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“But you have no choice but to respect it because of the damage that it’s already done.”

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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