CDC: Face Coverings at Salon “Likely Mitigated Spread of SARS-CoV-2”
A report published by CDC in July found that adherence to face-covering policies likely mitigated the spread of SARS-CoV-2 when 139 clients were exposed to two hair stylists with COVID-19 in May. According to CDC, both stylists worked for several days at their salon in Springfield, Missouri, before seeking testing. The stylists wore a double-layered cotton face covering or a surgical mask during all appointments with clients, which lasted from 15 to 45 minutes each. Most of the clients reported wearing either cloth face coverings or surgical masks, but a few wore N95 respirators. No symptoms of COVID-19 were identified among the exposed clients or their secondary contacts during public health contact tracing or after two weeks of follow-up. None of the other stylists who worked closely with the two stylists with COVID-19 reported symptoms either. “These findings support the role of source control in preventing transmission and can inform the development of public health policy during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report states. “Broader implementation of masking policies could mitigate the spread of infection in the general population.” All 139 clients were offered testing five days after exposure or as soon as possible for those who were exposed more than five days before contact tracing began. Sixty-seven clients volunteered to be tested, while 72 refused. CDC reports that all 67 nasopharyngeal swab specimens tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction, or PCR. Since a minority of clients were tested, agency researchers noted that asymptomatic clients could have been overlooked. CDC’s report stresses that the use of face coverings is key in minimizing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The agency recommends workplace policies regarding the use of face coverings for both employees and clients. Employers should also monitor employees’ symptoms and establish procedures for screening employees who arrive with or develop symptoms at work. The study was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.