Two coronavirus-stricken hairstylists in Missouri served a total of 140 clients while displaying symptoms – but no new cases have been linked to the two workers, who had been wearing masks, according to reports.
Health officials alerted the public last month that two hairstylists at Great Clips in Springfield had tested positive for the deadly bug, potentially exposing people between May 12 and May 20, The Kansas City Star reported.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced this week that none of the 140 clients and six co-workers have been infected after the 14-day incubation period passed, according to the news outlet.
“This is exciting news about the value of masking to prevent COVID-19,” Health Director Clay Goddard said in a news release.
“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,” Goddard said.
“We never want an exposure like this to happen, but this situation will greatly expand our understanding of how this novel coronavirus spreads,” he added.
One of the two hairstylists, who served 84 clients while symptomatic, infected the other employee, who worked with 56 clients.
The workers and all clients wore face masks, likely preventing the spread of the illness, according to health officials, who credited the business’s policies, including distancing chairs and staggering appointments.
The Health Department offered testing to all those who were potentially exposed. All 46 people tested returned negative results, officials said.
Everyone who was potentially exposed also was quarantined and called by health officials twice a day to check on symptoms, a spokeswoman told the news outlet.
“If any developed, they would have been referred to testing,” she said.
In a statement to KY3, Great Clips Inc. said that “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.”
Erik Chase told ABC News that he was ordered to quarantine after getting a haircut at the Springfield store on May 17, adding that he was “thankful” the tests came back negative for himself and the others.
“Maybe now I can go back to some sense of normalcy,” Chase told the network.
The store and two other Great Clips locations in the area closed temporarily amid threats against the business, The Kansas City Star reported.
On Tuesday, a company spokeswoman said that only the business where the two infected hairstylists work remained closed.