TORONTO -- A Toronto hospital has appealed for volunteers to sew surgical masks amid a supply shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Garron Hospital in the city’s east end posted a challenge on its website to “make 1,000 masks per week.”

“With the current pandemic there is a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Dr. Jeff Powis, medical director, infection prevention and control, at Michael Garron Hospital.

The masks will be given to approved visitors and discharged patients. Front-line workers won’t be using these masks.

“We want to see all east enders wearing a fabric mask when they need to be within six feet of other people, especially vulnerable populations and the elderly.”

The hospital foundation’s website provides instructions on how to make the mask and also explains how they will be used.

“It will be everyone's responsibility to keep their mask clean,” Dr. Powis said.

“We recommend washing masks daily with hot water and laundry detergent.”

All masks donated at the hospital will be sanitized, the website states.

The hospital is promoting a “simple two-ply, pleated mask design” and suggests a “dark-coloured polyester fabric for the outside of the mask…substituted with 100 per cent cotton if polyester is not available.

Light-coloured 100 per cent cotton is suggested for the part of the mask that goes against the skin.

Masks can be dropped off in the Coxwell lobby of Michael Garron Hospital between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. Michael Garron Hospital is located at 825 Coxwell Ave., Toronto, Ont.

Physical distancing best practices will be adhered to during drop off.