Missouri hair stylist with coronavirus worked while symptomatic, exposed dozens of clients – NBC News

A hair stylist in Springfield, Missouri, exposed as many as 91 people to coronavirus after working at a salon for eight days while symptomatic, health officials said Friday.

The exposed include 84 Great Clips customers and, potentially, seven coworkers, said Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. The condition of the stylist, who was not identified, was not revealed.

So far, no other positive case connected to the stylist has been confirmed, but the county is nonetheless facing “a glut of cases,” Goddard said.

Those exposed at the salon would be offered tests.

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“The good news is both the clients and the hairstylists were masked” at the time of exposure, he said.

Goddard said at a news conference Friday that more cases like this would quickly strain Springfield’s ability to care for patients.

“The hair stylist worked while sick,” he said. “I’m gong to be honest with you: We can’t have many more of these.”

Under Missouri’s pandemic reopening, hair salons are allowed to operate.

He warned residents who recently visited the same locations as the stylist, including a Dairy Queen, a Walmart and a CVS pharmacy, to look for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate themselves if they develop.

The stylist worked May 12 through Wednesday and tested positive, health officials said.

The co-owners of the Great Clips location told NBC affiliate KYTV that the employee “is following medical advice and taking appropriate actions.”

The salon was closed for sanitizing and deep cleaning, they said. Goddard said he was pleased with the location’s response and that it’s “safe to go there” now.

The patient is believed to have contracted the virus while traveling in another part of the state, Goddard said.

Image: Dennis RomeroDennis Romero

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

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