Plymouth Argyle are today hosting Shrewsbury Town despite having had two positive cases of coronavirus when the squad was tested midweek.
Elsewhere, Leyton Orient’s cases meant their game with Walsall was postponed, Grimsby’s game at Cheltenham has been postponed over one positive case, but Stevenage’s game at Bradford is still going ahead despite three positive cases. West Ham also went ahead in midweek despite their manager and two players testing positive.
This has lead to a lot of confusion among supporters of various clubs as to why some clubs are able to play on with outbreaks in their squad and others are not.
The reason for this is that where an entire squad has been tested, one or two individuals are able to isolate, and the rest of the squad tested negative and consequently are still able to play. This is what has happened in the cases with Plymouth Argyle and Stevenage.
Leyton Orient did also have their whole squad tested, and so in theory they could have played, but the rumoured number of cases is so high that it is likely that they did not have enough senior players (or officials) available to be able to complete the match.
Leyton Orient's League Two match at Walsall on Saturday has been suspended after 17 Orient club members tested positive for coronavirus.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 24, 2020
In the case of Grimsby, it was not their full squad that was tested for coronavirus, it was just one player who had symptoms. In this case Grimsby’s squad now have to self-isolate meaning that their game against Cheltenham had to be called off. Grimsby considered testing the rest of their squad for the virus, but were advised against it.
Grimsby Town say they did consider testing all the players today.
But the medical advice received said that it would be of no effect; "as the incubation period of the virus being a minimum of five days, with the squad last being in contact with the player three days ago." #GTFC
— BBC Humberside Sport (@HumbersideSport) September 25, 2020
In short, Grimsby were told there was no point testing the squad because even negative test results could not be relied upon to be accurate were the rest of the players in the 5 day incubation period.
It isn’t entirely clear why the same doesn’t apply to Argyle and Stevenage, as logically you would think that our players would have been in contact with the infected player and as such would also be in the incubation period. However, we must assume Argyle are acting on expert advice and perhaps the answer will become apparent within time.