A hairstylist worked while symptomatic and exposed 91 people to coronavirus

Henrietta Strickland
May 23, 2020

The exposed include 84 Great Clips customers and, potentially, seven coworkers, said Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. The hairstylist also visited a Dairy Queen, Walmart and fitness center, officials said.

The salon was allowed to operate under the now-expired "Stay Home Missouri" implemented by Republican Governor Mike Parson from April 6 until May 3. Now, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is trying to warn anyone who may have come in contact with them. Missouri's reopening plan requires businesses to observe social distancing measures and other precautions to slow the virus's spread. "And maybe more so, I'm disappointed".

The hairstylist and their clients were reportedly wearing face masks during the infected employee's work shifts, possibly minimizing the number of potential coronavirus exposures, though it's not yet clear if any new cases have been traced back to the stylist's workplace. A similar stylist exposed 91 people to the novel coronavirus in the US.

Goddard said at a news conference Friday that more cases like this would quickly strain Springfield's ability to care for patients.

"The well-being of Great Clips customers and stylists in the salon is our top priority and proper sanitization has always been an important cosmetology industry practice for Great Clips salons", the owners said. Goddard said he was pleased with the location's response and that it's "safe to go there" now.

"We are hopeful that their strictly-enforced policy of masking will prevent any future spread from this case". He said health officials have reached out to the people who were exposed, adding that the hairstylist had kept impeccable records that made contact tracing possible. "We've closed the salon where the employee works and it's now undergoing additional sanitizing and deep cleaning", they told KYTV.

As of Saturday, May 23, more than 97,000 people had died of COVID-19 in the United States with the number of cases rising to 1.6 million according to Worldometers, a real-time statistics website. "We can't make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to re-evaluate what things look like going forward", Goddard said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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