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New York barber who ‘illicitly’ cut hair for weeks has coronavirus

A New York barber who cut hair over the past few weeks amid the state’s coronavirus restrictions has tested positive for the virus, according to health officials on Wednesday.

Dr. Carol Smith, the Ulster County health commissioner, urged anyone who got their hair cut at a Kingston barbershop within the last three weeks to immediately contact their primary care physician and get tested for the virus.

“We are taking extraordinary measures to try and minimize the spread of this dangerous disease, and learning that a barbershop has been operating illicitly for weeks with a COVID-19-positive employee is extraordinarily disheartening,” Smith said in a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday.

Barbershops, beauty salons, and nail salons have been prohibited from opening after Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued the “New York on PAUSE” directive on March 22, which closed all nonessential businesses to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“As much as we would all like to go out and get a professional haircut, this kind of direct contact has the potential to dramatically spread this virus throughout our community and beyond,” Smith added.

The barber or barbershop wasn’t identified, although Smith said they were operating a shop on Broadway in the city of Kingston — located about 90 miles north of New York City.

There are reportedly four barbershops on Broadway in the area, according to the Daily Freeman.

“I urge anyone who has received a haircut at a Kingston barber in the last several weeks to immediately contact their physician or call our hotline to arrange for a diagnostic test,” she said.

New York — seen as the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — has more than 27,641 deaths from the virus as of Friday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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