Springfield-Greene Co. Health Department Director Clay Goddard answers questions after Great Clips stylist attorney's response

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -- Three more people from the Great Clips exposure have now tested negative for COVID-19. That’s now a total of 45 negatives from nearly 140 clients who may have been exposed by two employees.

Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard said it’s encouraging, while at the same time answering questions about what a hair stylist’s attorney said in a KY3 story Thursday.

Goddard reiterated Friday the importance of protecting the health of those around you and said he believes the backlash the stylist is getting from the public right now is unfortunate.

"We as public health professionals have a duty to warn," Goddard said in a news conference.

He said transparency was why he decided to publicly announce Great Clips was the site of the exposures.

"It was not intended to be critical of anyone, but we have to notify the public in the event," Goddard said.

The stylist's attorney, Bill Robb tells KY3 he still feels like the health department used harsher language during the May 22 news conference than it should have.

"Our intent was simply to notify the public of potential of exposure of disease, that's best practice," Goddard said. "It might potentially stop the chain of infection. I think that our actions were justified. "

Both sides agree the stylist was wearing a mask during her time at work, a key detail that Goddard said could be behind the negative tests that have come back so far. Thursday night, the stylist’s attorney said the woman was not told she had to stop going to work.

"We've been very clear since before we even had our first positive case in Springfield, Missouri, and Greene County, if you're sick, stay home," Goddard said.

The owner of Great Clips said Springfield locations are still closed because of the threats the stores are getting after two hair stylists tested positive for COVID-19. Attorney Robb said it’s not just the stores getting backlash, but the stylist too.

"They're getting a lot of threatening emails, a lot of hate e-mails and it's just really unwarranted," the attorney said. "The people can be really mean online and they are doing just that."

Goddard said the threats and backlash is not the way he hoped the community would respond to the information he released.

"It's my understanding that is what it has evolved to, and I think that's unfortunate," Goddard said. "It's not really constructive for a community that is trying to navigate a crisis of this magnitude."

Goddard said they are still waiting for more COVID- 19 test results from people possibly exposed at the Great Clips. No word yet on when it, or the other Springfield stores, will open again.

Again, so far all test results available for those exposed to the two stylists who tested positive for the virus have come back negative.

Click HERE for previous coverage of the stylist's attorney's response.