No new COVID-19 cases tied to Missouri hair salon exposure: Health department

Health officials say 46 out of the 146 clients and workers exposed got tested.

June 8, 2020, 10:15 PM

No new COVID-19 cases were found after two hairstylists potentially exposed 140 customers and six coworkers to the virus at a Great Clips in Missouri, the local health department said Monday.

Last month, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department alerted the public that two hairstylists had tested positive for the coronavirus, potentially exposing people in the Springfield salon between May 12 and May 20. They both were symptomatic and were wearing face coverings while working, health officials said.

Director of Health Clay Goddard pointed to the "value of masking" to prevent transmission from that exposure.

"We are studying more closely the details of these exposures, including what types of face coverings were worn and what other precautions were taken to lead to this encouraging result," Goddard said in a statement. "We never want an exposure like this to happen, but this situation will greatly expand our understanding of how this novel coronavirus spreads."

Goddard said other measures taken by Great Clips, including the distancing of salon chairs and staggering appointments, will also be studied.

Health officials said all those potentially exposed were quarantined for the duration of their exposure period and were offered testing. Only 46 of the people got tested, and their results came back negative, the department said. The 14-day incubation period has now passed.

Great Clips Inc. released a statement to KY3 following the update from the health department.

"Today, we learned from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department that all customers who were tested for COVID-19 after visiting a franchised Great Clips salon in Springfield have confirmed negative test results," said the statement. "Together with our 1,100 independent franchisees, we care deeply about the well-being of customers, salon staff and the communities we serve, and we are grateful for the health of these individuals. We thank the health department for their important work during this time."

The Great Clips location where the exposure occurred is still temporarily closed.

PHOTO: The Great Clips hair salon on South Glenstone Avenue is seen in Springfield, Missouri, U.S. May 22, 2020.
The Great Clips hair salon on South Glenstone Avenue, where Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard said a stylist who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had worked for over a week, is seen in Springfield, Missouri, U.S. May 22, 2020.
Usa Today Network/via Reuters

Springfield resident Erik Chase said he was ordered to quarantine after getting his hair cut at the Great Clips on May 17. He told ABC News he was "thankful" the tests came back negative for himself and other clients.

"Maybe now I can go back to some sense of normalcy," Chase said.

Hair salons were able to reopen in Missouri on May 4, when the state lifted many of its restrictions as part of its first phase of reopening. Gov. Mike Parson extended phase 1 through June 15.

Missouri has 14,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with cases up 6.2% over the last seven days, according to the state health department. There have been 819 deaths attributed to the virus.

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