As previously reported by The Inquisitr, two stylists at Springfield's Great Clips are believed to have worked while actively infected with the novel coronavirus, the pathogen that is causing the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Between them, the two stylists may have exposed as many as 140 people to the virus.
This week, the company that manages the Springfield locations announced in a statement that it was temporarily closing its stores in the Southwestern Missouri city due to unspecified threats. It remains unclear, as of this writing, how many Springfield area stores will be closed or for how long.
"To protect the safety of everyone, the local franchisees made the decision to temporarily close salons in the Springfield area. They are working closely with law enforcement officials as the officials conduct a thorough investigation of these threats," Great Clips Inc. said in a statement.
Though the company did not specify the exact nature of the threats, Springfield Police Department spokesperson Jasmine Bailey told The Associated Press that one threat came from a Facebook message to an employee on Saturday, and a second threat was phoned to a salon Wednesday. Both messages "were threatening to shut the place down" because the stylists potentially exposed people to the virus, Bailey said, but declined to elaborate. She also said that it was too early in the investigation to determine if the same person made both threats.As Springfield's News-Leader reports, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced six confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday evening. However, none of those cases were connected to the Great Clips location. Of the 140 people believed to have been exposed to the virus at the hair salon, 42 have been tested and their tests were negative.
Elsewhere around the Missouri city of about 170,000, multiple other possible points of exposure to the coronavirus have been identified by the region's health department. In all cases, individuals who were either showing active symptoms of COVID-19 or were actively infected with the virus without showing symptoms shopped at retail stores without wearing masks. All of the individuals visited the locations prior to being diagnosed.
As of this writing, according to Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services, the Show-Me State has had 12,673 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 707 deaths. The vast majority of those cases have occurred in and around Kansas City and St. Louis, the state's two most populous cities.