Great Clips hair stylist's attorney speaks out after mass COVID-19 exposure

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 9:25 PM CDT
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Days after an announcement from the Springfield Greene County Health Department that first one stylist, then another, tested positive for COVID-19 at Great Clips in Springfield, an attorney for the stylist is talking to KY3 about what happened.

"The health department, in my mind, kind of cast the Great Clips and the Stylist in a bad light and almost was critical in the way that they behaved," said the stylist's attorney Bill Robb.

On May 22 Clay Goddard, the director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department informed the public there had been a large potential of exposure of COVID-19 from a Great Clips hair stylist.

"I'll be honest, I'm very frustrated to be up here today, and maybe more so I'm disappointed," said Goddard. "I think we need to comprehend the consequences of this."

Goddard said the stylist went to work even though she had symptoms.

"While symptomatic, our case worked as a hair stylist at the Great Clips at 1864 S. Glenstone Ave. on the following dates," the heath department statement read.

Attorney Robb said the woman did seek medical attention as soon as she had symptoms.

"She went to Mercy and they gave her ZYRTEC and told her to go home," he said. "She asked about do I need a test and they said 'no, you don't' and so they sent her home and that's on the 12th. "

The attorney showed KY3 proof of the May 12, doctor visit. Since it contains sensitive medical information, we will not be putting it in this article. But the report we saw goes into detail about the stylist’s visit to a Mercy urgent care clinic. It shows her diagnosis, and the prescription she was given. Mercy Hospital would only release a statement. It said,

"Federal privacy laws prevent Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care from discussing individual patient care. Mercy-GoHealth provides high-quality care based on the most stringent clinical standards set by Mercy and applicable law. Each patient is individually evaluated based on his or her symptoms and medical history shared at the time of the visit. Mercy-GoHealth follows CDC and state COVID-19 testing criteria."

Clay Goddard wasn’t available for an interview, so we spoke with the assistant health director about the case. She said there are plenty of tests available if they are needed.

"We want health care providers to hear loud and clear there are plenty of tests available and if people are symptomatic or even if there is a shadow of a doubt, send them to get tested," said Assistant Health Director Katie Towns.

Robb said the stylist is older and has an autoimmune disease. Less than a week after she was sent home for allergies, Robb adds, she felt like her sense of smell and taste wasn't normal and called the health department.

"She did not go to work the day she had called the health department, that is a matter of fact," Robb said, "Then, she went to the health department the next day to get a test."

But then the stylist, while waiting for the test results, went back to work.

"She wasn't told by the health department whenever she had her test that she wasn't supposed to cut hair, at all," Robb said. "So she kept trying to work."

In a statement, the health department said they can’t discuss this specific case, but that anyone who comes in for a test has to sign an agreement that says :

Until further notice, please follow these isolation precautions, in order to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19: I must remain at home, except to get medical care (including not working or attending school) so I will not spread COVID-19 to other people. I will wear a facemask when around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before entering a healthcare provider’s office. If I am not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with me should not stay in the same room, or they should wear a facemask if they enter my room. If my symptoms worsen and I require medical care, I will notify my chosen healthcare provider prior to presenting to the facility. If medical care is required emergently, I will notify the 911 dispatcher of my coronavirus diagnosis so that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be aware of my condition. I understand that a representative of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department will be in contact with me to get additional information about my symptoms and travel history. I understand that my failure to comply with the above responsibilities could result exposing other individuals to the COVID-19. The statement KY3 received went on to say, "Once lab results confirm a positive case, the individual is then informed of their responsibilities to remain in isolation, which reiterates these responsibilities listed in the previous document, as well as gives guidance on precautions to take at home, and the twice daily symptom reporting requirements. This document also requires patient consent. "

Since the news was released about the positive COVID-19 tests there, all Springfield Great Clips locations have closed because of threats. Health department leaders say that was not their intention.

“None of the Information that we put out and distribute in order to give the community more information to protect their own health and safety is ever meant in any way to shame somebody or to put them in a position where they're going to be threatened," Towns said.

Robb said the woman is still afraid right now of the threats that are continuing to be made.

Towns said if you are feeling anything that could be a symptom of COVID-19, stay home. When you do see a doctor, Towns said to be your own advocate and ask for a test if you feel one is necessary.

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