coronavirus pandemic

Second Stylist at Same Missouri Hair Salon Tests Positive, Nearly 140 Exposed to Coronavirus

Health officials were tracking down 91 people who were potentially exposed to determine if they've developed COVID-19

Great Clips, 1864 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, Missouri.
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A Springfield hairstylist served 84 clients over eight days while experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, and now a coworker is sick, health officials said.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced in a Facebook post Saturday that 56 other Great Clips clients were potentially exposed by the second stylist.

The announcement came one day after the health department's director, Clay Goddard, said in a news briefing that the first stylist to get sick worked eight days from May 12 to May 20, with only the 18th off. The coworker then worked five shifts from May 16 to 20 while experiencing very mild symptoms.

All of the two stylists' clients wore masks and will be tested. The owner of the Great Clips said in a statement that the salon will be closed until it goes through sanitizing and deep cleaning.

The two cases come just days after city officials announced plans to relax even more distancing requirements and about a week after the health department started seeing an influx of new travel-related infections.

Goddard said health officials still had enough capacity to pinpoint the origin of infections and potential spread, although that could change, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

“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 Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Saturday reported 194 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 11,752 since the pandemic began. Five new deaths brought that total to 671.

The department also announced it had combined antibody and viral coronavirus testing data, creating an artificially lower percentage of positive tests in the state. The tests were separated in statewide data Saturday, The Kansas City Star reported.

Antibody, or serology, tests show whether a person has ever had COVID-19. A viral, or PCR test, shows whether a person is actively infected with the virus.

In statewide data Friday, Missouri reported about 6.5% of tests conducted in the state were positive. After separating the two types of test, however, the data showed that 8.3% of PCR tests were positive and 4% of antibody tests were positive.

“As we continue to learn more about this virus and new tests emerge, we will continue providing better data with greater clarity and transparency to help Missourians make the best decisions for their health care possible,” said Randall Williams, director of the health department in a news release about the changes.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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