A hairstylist at Great Clips in Springfield came to work eight days while showing symptoms of COVID-19, creating possible direct exposures to over 90 people.
A visibly irritated Springfield-Greene County Health Department head Clay Goddard said at a late Friday press conference the stylist had worked on 84 clients who were being contacted by health department personnel along with 7 co-workers. He said that stylist and customers were wearing masks, which reduces the chance of transmission, and he’s hoping that none of the clients were infected.
Goddard did, however, say that situations like this person choosing to go to work sick is something we can’t have more of in the community.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Goddard said. “We can’t have many more of these. 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.”
He said the stylist was infected during a trip to a location in Missouri with high rates of COVID-19 infection and brought the infection back to Greene County.
Goddard called Great Clips a great community partner, and noted they required all of their staff and customers to wear masks. He also said they have been using CDC recommended cleaning methods, and that the store location on South Glenstone where the infected stylist worked is safe for the public.
The stylist worked at the 1864 South Glenstone location on the following dates and times:
- Tuesday, May 12 (8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Wednesday, May 13 (8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
- Thursday, May 14 (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- Friday, May 15 (1 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- Saturday, May 16 (8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
- Sunday, May 17 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
- Tuesday, May 19 (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- Wednesday, May 20 (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Additionally, the stylist visited multiple public locations along with another unrelated case while infectious:
- Thursday, May 14; Friday, May 15 and Monday, May 18: 10 Fitness at 1444 S Glenstone between 12 p.m. – 1p.m.
- Monday, May 18: Dairy Queen at 3665 E. Sunshine around 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 20: Walmart at 2021 E. Independence around 7:30 p.m.
One additional public exposure was reported from a case who was infectious, but was wearing a mask when they went out:
Wednesday, May 20: CVS at Campbell and Battlefield between 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. for about 20 minutes.
Goddard said anyone who visited those locations at the same time as the infected individuals is at low risk for COVID-19, but should watch for symptoms:
- shortness of breath,
- muscle pain,
- sore throat
- and new loss of taste or smell
If you are showing signs of COVID-19, even if you normally have seasonal allergies or believe you have a cold, contact your health care professional for testing to rule out COVID-19.
Goddard noted that they will be watching the case of the stylist and her clients as a study to help judge the effectiveness of masking.
Goddard said that almost all the new cases of COVID-19 in Greene County are coming from people who are traveling outside the area and bringing the virus back with them. The other cases are family members and close contacts of already known cases.
“I am not seeing signs of community spread,” Goddard said, while warning that if people continue to travel outside the area to places where there are high infection rates for COVID-19 and bring the virus back, it could lead to community spread of the disease.
When asked if he felt the stylist was selfish in going to work while sick, Goddard provided a measured response.
“I think we need to comprehend the consequences of this,” Goddard said. “We’re working with a condition that causes bad health conditions for folks. It’s not just elderly, it’s not just comorbid. It’s also happening to children, to healthy young people as well.”
“We’re moving out of a phase where took enormous sacrifices and there are economic hardships as a result of that,” Goddard said. “If we’re going to work sick and sharing this illness with others, that’s not a good approach.”