Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians is isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
In a statement, Arians, who has publicly advocated for COVID-19 vaccines, said he has experienced only mild symptoms so far. In his absence, Assistant Head Coach and Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin will serve as interim head coach.
“I tested positive for COVID-19 this morning but have only experienced mild symptoms to this point,” Arians said in a statement. “Harold Goodwin will take over my duties during my absence. I have complete confidence in him and the rest of our coaching staff to prepare the team for this week’s game against the Jets. I look forward to rejoining the team and being back in the facility as soon as I can test back in.”
The team is set to play the New York Jets in New York this Sunday. The team currently has five players on the reserve/COVID-19 list: wide receiver Jaelon Darden, cornerback Jamel Dean, wide receiver Mike Evans, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
The news of Arians’ positive test result comes as Hillsborough County reported its highest weekly COVID-19 caseload since September in the week leading up to Christmas. The county reported 5,133 new cases of COVID-19 in the week of Dec. 17 through Dec. 23. By comparison, in the week prior, the county only reported 1,363 new cases of COVID-19, which in itself was a slight trend upward.
The new data shows the highest caseload the county has seen since the end of the summer surge in mid-September, when the county reported 5,442 weekly cases in a Sept. 17 report. Hillsborough County also reported a 10.8% positivity rate last week, a leap from the prior week’s 4.3%.
In response to the surge, the county will begin requiring individuals to wear face masks again within county facilities starting Wednesday.