One hundred-forty clients at a hair salon in Missouri may have been exposed to COVID-19 after a second hairstylist at the location tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Friday, the city of Springfield said 91 people — 84 clients and seven employees — had been exposed after a stylist worked for eight days while showing symptoms.
Now, 56 more clients have been “potentially directly exposed,” the city said Saturday, saying the second stylist at the Great Clips salon tested positive and worked for five days while “experiencing very mild symptoms.”
“At this time, this is the only other positive result we have had from those tested as a result of the previous exposure,” the city said.
Both the stylists and their clients were wearing face coverings, and health officials said they were reaching out to all of those who may have been exposed. Hair salons are allowed to operate in Missouri under state reopening guidelines, and the city has said those who may have been exposed at the salon would be offered tests.
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Great Clips said Sunday that safety is the “top priority” for the company and its franchises.
“Both stylists are following medical advice and taking appropriate actions, and the local health department notified individuals who came in close contact with those stylists,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “The franchise owners have closed the salon to undergo additional sanitization and deep cleaning, consistent with guidance from health officials.”
Erik Chase is one of the 84 clients whose hair was cut by a stylist who was showing symptoms.
“Now I’m someone directly affected by COVID, and I never thought that it would be so close to home,” Chase told NBC affiliate KYTV of Springfield. “It’s a big deal. It definitely gives me great concern.”
Chase said officials have asked him to stay home until Sunday, which will be 14 days from the date of his Great Clips appointment. He also has been told to take his temperature twice a day and to check in with the health department. He’ll be tested for the virus this week.
Chase said that from the time he went to the Great Clips to the day he was notified of his exposure, he came in contact with 15 to 20 people.
“So I don’t think that the story is ending any time soon,” he added.
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As Springfield health officials continue to trace the stylists’ contacts, the city is grappling with other workers in client-facing jobs who have tested positive for COVID-19, including at a Walmart, a gym and a Dollar General.