Two Missouri hairstylists saw dozens of customers while symptomatic with COVID-19 but did not pass the disease on to either customers or coworkers.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced earlier this week that the incubation period for 147 people potentially exposed to the coronavirus had passed.
“This is exciting news about the value of masking to prevent COVID-19,” Springfield-Greene County Director of Health Clay Goddard said in a statement. “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. We never want an exposure like this to happen, but this situation will greatly expand our understanding of how this novel coronavirus spreads.”
The health department began monitoring the group after two stylists at a local Great Clips were found to have worked while symptomatic with COVID-19. The officials put 140 customers and seven other employees on notice for potential exposure.
The Great Clips where the two infected employees worked had implemented social distancing policies to mitigate any spread of the disease. They staggered appointments and set apart salon chairs.
While health officials offered to test all affected, only 46 potentially exposed people accepted. The rest remained quarantined until the incubation period ended. Those in isolation received a call twice a day from a Springfield-Greene County health official asking if they had symptoms for COVID-19.
The infected stylists worked at the Great Clips for about eight days ending on May 20. One saw 56 clients while the other worked with 84 clients and seven coworkers, according to CNN. The salon was able to track down all the customers by keeping records of the clients each stylist worked with.
Great Clips released a statement celebrating the news to KYTV.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Epidemiologists and public officials are watching how the disease spreads as states continue to reopen their economies after mandatory shutdowns beginning in mid-March. More than 40 million workers filed for unemployment after losing their paychecks because of the shutdown and pandemic.
The Labor Department said last week that the unemployment rate is about 16% after a “misclassification error” in an initial unemployment report showing just over 13% unemployment was corrected. The unemployment rate is still far under the roughly 20% level that many economists expected, and the news sparked some allegations that the Trump administration skewed the numbers for political reasons. No evidence of such tampering has been found.
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