The Florida Gators have suspended all football activities because of a spike in positive COVID-19 tests, UF athletic director Scott Stricklin announced Tuesday afternoon.In test results available as of Monday, UF reported five new positives in the football program in the past week, according to its weekly update. By late Tuesday afternoon, that number was up to 19, as first reported by The Alligator and confirmed by the Tampa Bay Times. Stricklin said in a statement that because of the “increase in positive COVID tests among players this week” team activities were being paused out of an “abundance of caution.”Stricklin said he has been in touch with the SEC, last week’s opponent (Texas A&M) and Saturday’s scheduled opponent (LSU), while coach Dan Mullen has been talking with players and their families.UF Health and the sports medicine staff will reevaluate the situation Wednesday, Stricklin said.The No. 10 Gators (2-1) are scheduled to host defending national champion LSU (1-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday and Missouri on Oct. 24 before an open date.The development also comes three days after Mullen drew nationwide backlash for saying UF’s administrators should open Ben Hill Griffin Stadium up to its full capacity of more than 88,000 fans, as allowed by Gov. Ron DeSantis' continued push to reopen the state. UF has said its COVID-19 protocols remain in effect, limiting capacity to about 17,000.Mullen deflected most questions about those comments Monday but did defend the safety precautions he said his players, coaches and staff have followed.“I think we’re a model of safety of what we’ve been doing during this time period,” Mullen said Monday. “So I’m really proud of how we’ve handled everything and how safe we’ve been with everything we’re doing and all the precautions we’ve had in place during this time.”One SEC game has already been called off this week. On Monday, the SEC postponed Vanderbilt’s game at Missouri because of “positive tests and subsequent quarantining” within the Commodores. It has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12.Since May 26, UF has reported 37 positives in football. Six of them have been in October.• • • HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code. FACE MASKS: Read the latest on guidelines, tips for comfort and long-term wear GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information . THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic. A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply. HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.