SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Machelle Warren, 23, was at the Great Clips on South Glenstone on Sunday, May 17 around 3:45 p.m. Around that same time, a hairstylist was working there while symptomatic, per the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
Warren, one of the 84 customers potentially exposed to COVID-19 describes her experience at the hair salon that day as normal. Minus everyone wearing masks, of course. She says employees were being very careful, including the stylist who did her hair.
“Before they even had me step down, they washed their hands, re-gloved, got a fresh, re-cleaned apron,” Warren said.
Five days later, she received a call from the health department. She was told she had come into direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
RELATED ARTICLE: Second Great Clips hairstylist tests positive for COVID-19
“I was just kind of like, ‘What?!’” Warren said. “I’m not going to lie, I panicked for upwards of an hour yesterday after I got the call. But, we’re going to be fine no matter what happens. Got to have faith.”
Warren was told she needs to quarantine for 14 days.
“I need to take my temperature twice a day,” Warren said. “I need to check in with the health department, the person who reached out to me, once a day at least.”
She currently doesn’t have any symptoms she would consider out of the ordinary. The health department hasn’t offered her a COVID-19 test, but that might change should symptoms develop. Warren says she’ll take a test if it’s offered to her.
Since speaking with Warren, KOLR 10 News also heard from the owner of that Great Clips location. The individual wants to remain anonymous.
They say they pray for the health and recovery of everyone involved, and that the hairstylist wasn’t at fault because doctors didn’t tell her to quarantine.
“She has her release order from Urgent Care,” the owner said. “She was not aware she was COVID-19 positive nor a risk.”
KOLR 10 News told Warren about the owner’s response.
“This seems like this is all just an unlucky set of circumstances,” Warren said. “I honestly can’t hold anger towards any one person because it wasn’t anyone’s fault. They were doing what they were told to do. I hope that stylist is okay. I can’t imagine it’s okay because they didn’t know any better.”
The owner expressed their disapproval of the health department’s announcement yesterday. First, they clarified the employee didn’t travel to an “exotic place.” She went to Kansas City.
“We are saddened the way the wording of ‘hairstylist worked sick for 8 days’ was used like it was deliberate, which it was not,” The individual said. “We followed all required guidelines to keep staff and customers safe.”
The health department has responded to these comments. It says the stylist was involved in a regular disease investigation after testing positive for COVID-19:
“The stylist reported having symptoms of COVID-19 during the eight days of work disclosed. As we have said throughout this pandemic – people who are sick should stay home. We do not make potential public exposure notifications to blame – only to warn. That is our solemn duty in such situations, and we take great care in making such decisions.”
Since the health department’s announcement, the owner of the Great Clips says they have received violent threats. The health department condemns this.
“We would, in no way, ever condone violence against anyone. This goes against the vision and the guiding light of our department – to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. We are dismayed to hear that staff of this business feel threatened, and would encourage anyone concerned to contact law enforcement.”