Town’s first-team squad returned to training at Sundorne Castle yesterday without manager Steve Cotterill, who remains unwell with the virus and away from the club.
Cotterill will not be in charge of next Tuesday’s rescheduled FA Cup third-round tie at Southampton, with Aaron Wilbraham and David Longwell taking the reins and the boss, 56, expected to take a period of absence while he recovers.
Montgomery Waters Meadow CEO Caldwell revealed his ‘gut feeling’ that the highly-transmittable new variant was picked up during match action.
“The PFA have at last put money into clubs to help us do this so going forward everybody will be testing twice per week, as mandatory, so clubs can keep control of it,” Caldwell told Radio Shropshire.
“My concern is where there’s no testing, and games played, there’s a likelihood of it being passed between clubs which is how I fear we probably got it in the first place.
“That’s my gut feeling, to be honest. We played a couple of teams who have gone down in the following days with four or five (positives).
“It’s difficult, because they were only tested if they have got symptoms, you may have had the virus and play a game against another team. I’m pretty sure that’s how we got it.
“I’m not having a go at another team, they probably didn’t show symptoms so didn’t need to be tested, and then we played against them while they were carrying the virus and it’s passed on to us.”
Town won 1-0 at Doncaster three days before Christmas and Rovers subsequently missed four league games after five positive cases in total and only returned to action in the FA Cup last weekend.
Hull, who Shrewsbury beat 1-0 earlier in December, also missed games either side of Christmas due to positive cases.
Those who tested positive at Shrewsbury do not require retesting ahead of the Southampton tie and are free to play.
Caldwell added: “I hope and pray clubs don’t have to go through what we’ve gone through in the last 10 days.
“But if there is a positive out of our situation, the fact that so many have had the virus they are now exempt from testing for 90 days, there is no requirement for testing because they’ve already had the virus.”