Haywood County Health and Human Services in a news release on Tuesday announced that the person died on Oct. 1 at a local hospital.
“The death certificate lists pneumonia due to COVID-19 infection as an underlying cause of death (the disease that initiated the events resulting in death.) The individual was elderly and had several underlying medical conditions,” officials said, noting that no other information will be released to protect the family’s privacy.
The coronavirus cluster is linked to Enchanting Hair Fashions salon in Canton, said officials, who did not reveal how many COVID-19 cases are linked to this specific cluster.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones. This is a sad reminder that COVID-19 is a serious and sometimes deadly illness. We urge all citizens to do their part by observing social distancing, wear masks and practice good hygiene,” said Health Director Patrick Johnson, in a statement.
It’s not clear if the stylists or salon patrons were wearing masks, though North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper mandated them in June.
The news comes after a review from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July found that uniform mask-wearing at a hair salon in Missouri may have prevented nearly 140 clients from contracting the novel coronavirus from two hairstylists infected with COVID-19.
In May, two hairstylists at Great Clips in Springfield, Mo., tested positive for COVID-19 after seeing clients at the salon located at 1864 S. Glenstone Ave. The stylists treated some 139 clients between the two of them.
However, none of the clients were sickened with COVID-19. Experts are crediting the use of face maks, at least in part, for preventing what could have been a significant outbreak of the deadly virus.
“Among 139 clients exposed to two symptomatic hair stylists with confirmed COVID-19 while both the stylists and the clients wore face masks, no symptomatic secondary cases were reported; among 67 clients tested for SARS-CoV-2, all test results were negative,” the report published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reads. “Adherence to the community’s and company’s face-covering policy likely mitigated [the] spread of SARS-CoV-2.”
“The citywide ordinance and company policy might have played a role in preventing [the] spread of SARS-CoV-2 during these exposures,” the authors added in the report. “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.”