Seamstresses finish 65 masks in 3 days for home health staff

Nurses receiving the first batch of masks in the picture from left to right are:

Melanie Cummings, Gayla Anderson, and Karen Raith

A team of seamstresses turned out over 65 medical face masks in a three day period.

When Gayla Anderson, Director of Nursing at Community Home Health of Claremore put the plea out on Facebook, she had no idea the enthusiasm and willingness to help she would receive.

She said Community Home Health provides home health services for all of northeast Oklahoma and that their staff of nurses, therapists, and nurse aides all need masks.

"To protect our staff best from COVID-19, we need N95 masks but we have ordered for weeks and cannot get anymore. We only have enough to issue one per staff member," Anderson said. "In an effort to try and preserve the integrity of these masks we are using cloth masks to go over them to hopefully extend the N95 mask life."

She said they're pursuing every creative avenue they can to supplement the demand for masks.

"I know hospitals are a priority, I completely understand that. If I have to go to the hospital, I want them to have masks," she said. "So we're getting creative."

She put out a call for help on her church Facebook page, Life Fellowship Church in Pryor, for any seamstress wiling to lend a hand.

"I have had an overwhelming response," she said. "People are actively sewing right now. People will get done five or six then ask me if they look right, if they're going to fit. It's been exciting to bring them in to the staff."

Anderson said, "I bought the pattern for a whopping $2.50, and it's sharable. So anyone that reaches out, I can send it to them as a PDF."

She said they like this particular pattern, because the mask is lined and mimics the style of a paper mask, which is also in short supply.

She said so far the army of seamstresses have only run into one hiccup—"I got a call last night that Walmart was out of elastic. There are some ready to be finished, but because a lot of people are making their own, Walmart is out of elastic."

She hopes the shortage is short lived and the project will be back on track in no time.

Anyone interested in donating material, donating 1/8" or 1/4" elastic, or getting their hands on the pattern to help out should email Anderson at ganderson@chok.com

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