Two Missouri hairstylists potentially exposed 140 clients to coronavirus when they worked for up to eight days this month while symptomatic, health officials said.
The Springfield-Greene Health Department announced Saturday that a second hairstylist tested positive for coronavirus, and may have exposed 56 clients at the same Great Clips salon.
A day earlier, it had said another hairstylist with coronavirus at the same salon potentially exposed 84 customers and seven coworkers.
Both stylists had symptoms while at work, officials said. They did not provide details on the symptoms they had or when they tested positive.
The case highlights the dangers of community spread in the United States as businesses reopen after weeks of restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The stylists and clients wore face coverings
Both stylists worked from the second week of May to Wednesday. The clients and the stylists all wore face coverings, the Health Department said. At the time, businesses like barbershops and hair salons were allowed to operate in the state.
“It is the hope of the department that because face coverings were worn throughout this exposure timeline, no additional cases will result,” it added.
The salon kept impeccable records that made contact tracing possible, said Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
But he cautioned about the risks of overwhelming resources.
“I’m going to be honest with you: We can’t have many more of these,” he said at a news conference. “We can’t make this a regular habit or our capabilities as a community will be strained.”
Goddard said he was pleased with the deep cleaning measures taken by Great Clips, adding that he now considers the business safe.
“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. We’ve closed the salon where the employee works and it’s currently undergoing additional sanitizing and deep cleaning,” the owners of the business said in a statement to CNN affiliate KYTV.
More than 96,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States, where the number of confirmed cases is more than 1.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins. Missouri has nearly 12,000 cases of infections and more than 650 deaths.