With two stylists confirmed to have the virus, 139 customers as well as colleagues were tracked. None showed signs of infection. Adhering to local ordinance on masks can make a difference, CDC says . . .
By the time a hair stylist in Springfield, Missouri received her test results showing she had COVID-19, she had been having symptoms, and continuing to serve clients, for eight days. In the meantime, three days after her own symptoms began, one of her colleagues began to have symptoms as well. It wasn’t until that colleague’s test result came back positive for the virus as well, seven days later, that the salon closed for disinfecting and a public health investigation began. During the 10 days between the onset of the first stylist’s symptoms and the closing of the salon, the two stylists had directly served 139 customers.
While the two stylists had spent time together between customers in the salon without masks, they and their colleagues all had worn masks when customers were present, and the salon had required that customers wear masks as well. That, according to a report released by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, may have made all the difference. Over the two weeks that followed ,as other stylists who had worked with the two were quarantined and monitored daily, none of the other stylists showed any sign of the virus. Two weeks of follow-up among the clients served by the two stylists also found no sign of COVID-19 among any of the 139, or their contacts. Without symptoms, just 67 of the clients agreed to be tested for the virus. All of their tests were negative.
With viral shedding — or potential release of the virus from an infected person to others — beginning during a two-to-three day period before symptom onset when viral loads are at their highest, the report notes, widespread adoption of policies requiring facial coverings to reduce risks of transmission should be considered. They conclude that the findings presented in the report, which was released July 14, support the role of masks in preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and underscore the need for broader application of policies requiring the masks.
The release of the report was accompanied by the release of additional findings from CDC, showing that within days of the April 3 recommendation from the White House Coronavirus Task Force encouraging the use of cloth face covering in public settings, 61% of people surveyed who said they had left the house in the previous week said they had worn a mask. A month later more than 75% said they had. The next step, the authors of that report conclude, indicate that public health messages must now target audiences still showing reluctance to wear masks.