Health officials have shared the good news that none of the 140 clients seen last month by a pair of stylists with coronavirus at a Missouri salon ended up getting COVID-19 themselves thanks to masks and other precautions.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said in a statement on Monday that all the customers who were tested for coronavirus after being treated by the affected stylists at a Great Clips location in Springfield have confirmed negative test results.
"The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is encouraged to report that the incubation period has passed from those potentially exposed from Great Clips," the statement reads. "No clients of either stylist nor additional co-workers contracted COVID-19 as a result."
One stylist treated 84 clients and the other worked with 56, and six co-workers were also exposed. Forty-six of them pursued testing and all tested negative, while the rest were quarantined for a 14-day period, according to the health department.
Additionally, there were no cases of coronavirus out of the more than 400 other people who were in the Great Clips location during the shifts by the two affected stylist, Springfield-Green County director of health Clay Goddard told TODAY on Thursday.
The health department lauded the protective measures taken by the hair salon, which include all stylists and clients wearing masks as well as distancing salon chairs and staggering appointments to help with social distancing.
"The take away to me is clear and I’m not gonna gloss over it," Goddard told TODAY. "I was an early skeptic of masking. When I looked at that practice in Asia, I believed that to be a cultural phenomenon, and I’m actually on the record stating that. This changed my mind entirely."
Great Clips shared that they were encouraged that their safety measures seem to have worked.
"We recently learned from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department that all customers who were tested for COVID-19 after visiting a franchised Great Clips salon in Springfield have confirmed negative test results," Great Clips, Inc., said in a statement to TODAY. "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. We thank the health department for their important work during this time."
"As a public health official I always follow science," Goddard said. "To me this adds to the scientific evidence that supports the mitigating practice of masking, so let’s not make this a political issue, let's realize what it is, and it's a very effective way to mitigate against this disease, and let's use it."
Missouri has had 15,187 coronavirus cases and 848 deaths, according to state health officials. The state was also the site of a packed outdoor pool party at the Lake of the Ozarks last month that prompted St. Louis County to issue a travel advisory and the Kansas City health director to call for self-quarantine of the revelers.