SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (TEGNA) — A pair of hairstylists who tested positive for the coronavirus have potentially exposed at least 140 clients to the disease, officials in Missouri said this week.
The exposure to COVID-19 happened at a Great Clips in Springfield, according to the local health department.
At first, seven co-workers and 84 clients were potentially exposed to the virus after one hairstylist tested positive. But on Saturday, a day after announcing the first hairstylist tested positive, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said a second hairstylist who had served 56 clients tested positive.
The health department said the stylists and their clients were both wearing face coverings, and that everyone potentially exposed would be contacted and tested for the virus.
The first stylist to get sick worked eight days between May 12 and May 20. The co-worker who also tested positive worked five shifts from May 16 to May 20.
At a news conference Friday, the Springfield News-Leader reports that health department director Clay Goddard said the first stylist to test positive traveled to a “high-intensity” area of Missouri and then worked at Great Clips.
“If you have a summer cold or you have allergies, don’t make assumptions,” Goddard said. “We have testing in this community. Get tested.”
The two cases come after city officials announced plans to relax distancing requirements, the News-Leader reports.
Goddard said that while local public health agencies had the ability to pinpoint the origin of infection and potential spread, this might not be the case if they have more large exposures.
“I’m going to be honest with you. We can’t have many more of these,” he said. “We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to re-evaluate what things look like going forward.”