Two hairstylists with COVID-19 may have exposed 140 people at salon

Estradaanton/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- Two hairstylists potentially exposed 140 customers to COVID-19 at a Great Clips in Missouri, according to alerts from a local health department.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced on Friday that a hairstylist who tested positive for COVID-19 had potentially exposed 84 clients at a Great Clips in Springfield. The case is believed to have been contracted through travel to a "high-intensity" area in Missouri, director of Health Clay Goddard said Friday.

Then on Saturday, the health department announced a second hairstylist who tested positive for the virus had potentially exposed 56 clients at the same salon, located in a strip mall.

Both employees were symptomatic and were wearing face coverings while working, health officials said.

The potential exposure from both cases took place over the course of nine days, between May 12 and May 20.

All 140 clients will be notified and offered testing, along with seven co-workers, health officials said. The clients were also wearing face coverings, which should help limit transmission, Goddard said.

The Great Clips location is temporarily closed. A voice recording advises callers to visit two other nearby locations of the franchise.

The co-owners of that Great Clips franchise, Brittany Hager and Jennifer Small, released a statement to KY3 after the first employee possibly exposed numerous clients.

"As Great Clips franchisees and co-owners of CM Clips, LLC, we recently learned that an employee in one of our salons in Springfield, Missouri has tested positive for COVID-19 and is following medical advice and taking appropriate actions. 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," Hager and Small said in the statement. "We’ve closed the salon where the employee works and it’s currently undergoing additional sanitizing and deep cleaning consistent with guidance from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the CDC. We will reopen the salon based on guidance from the health department."

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.

On Saturday, Springfield entered phase two of its reopening plan, allowing bars, gyms and public pools to reopen, as well as gatherings of up to 50 people, following social distancing requirements.

Missouri has 11,988 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with cases up 6.2% over the last seven days, according to the state health department. There have been 681 deaths.

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