Community , Health

Osage seamstresses aid health workers by putting their skills to use

Photo caption: Sarah Hernandez (left) and Addie Roanhorse (right), are just two of the many Osage women putting their sewing skills to use to help medical personnel during the global pandemic. Osage News

Instead of sewing ribbonwork, Osage seamstresses are coming together to sew face masks for medical personnel.

With health care workers across the country reporting a shortage of N95 masks to treat patients with COVID-19, seamstresses are gathering their materials and getting busy.

Volunteers with the Osage Volunteer Community Response Group have coordinated online by posting mask tutorials, patterns and examples of various ways to sew a basic medical mask.

Addie Roanhorse, Juli Cote, Sarah Hernandez, Olivia Gray, Amy Shackelford, Tammy Baldauff, Ruth Shaw, Sidonie Cannon, Michelle Spotted Bear Hyatt, are just some of the Osage women sewing, organizing drop off locations and managing requests.

“I am getting blown up by requests for masks, if you can sew and have a machine now is the time!” posted Roanhorse on the Facebook page. “Please share this! Osage county, Tulsa, Oklahoma needs help now. The requests are coming in from everywhere! I have materials, and a pattern. Please help!”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends medical personnel use a special N95 respirator mask. They’re named N95 because 95 percent of all airborne particles are filtered out if used correctly.

The masks are meant for one-time use, with one patient. However, with the shortage of masks, medical personnel around the country are being asked to use the same mask the entire day – putting the health care worker at risk of infection.

With the Wahzhazhe Health Center anticipating a surge in COVID-19 cases, masks will be essential for frontline health personnel. The health center currently employs 65 individuals, six medical providers and 12 nurses.  

Mask donations can be dropped off at the Big Rain Gallery in Pawhuska. There is also a Facebook group called Operation: Mask Assist that individuals can join to help.

To donate masks to the Wahzhazhe Health Center, please contact Tamara Holden at (918) 287-9300.