No coronavirus cases linked to Missouri hairstylists who potentially exposed 140 clients to disease: officials

(Photo by Chris Knight/Unsplash)

Two hairstylists in Missouri were positive for the novel coronavirus while seeing clients last month, potentially exposing them to the disease. But the 14-day incubation period has now passed and none of the 140 clients seen between the two of them has showed symptoms of COVID-19, officials said this week.

The hairstylist at Great Clips in Springfield, Mo., tested positive for COVID-19 after seeing clients at the salon located at 1864 S. Glenstone Ave. In addition to the 140 clients, at least six other workers at the salon were potentially exposed.

“Testing was offered to all those potentially exposed ... and all came back negative,” per a news release from the City of Springfield. “Regardless of testing, all potentially exposed were quarantined for the duration of their exposure period.”

Health officials are now crediting the uniform use of face masks, social distancing and the staggering of appointments for preventing an outbreak among clients and other hairstylists.

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“This is exciting news about the value of masking to prevent COVID-19,” said Clay Goddard, the county's director of health. “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.

In a statement to local news station KYTV, a spokesperson for Great Clips said the company was pleased to hear no one else was infected.

“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,” the statement reads. “We thank the health department for their important work during this time."

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The news comes after the largest review of studies to date on coronavirus transmission found that face mask use and adhering to social distancing measures are the best ways to reduce risk, further supporting what infectious disease and other health experts have been saying for months.

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