Update regarding the Covid-19 outbreak at the Jesuit infirmary community in Pickering, Ontario

May 11, 2020 — On Saturday May 9, following the advice of public health officials and other experts, the Jesuits of Canada have made the decision to temporarily close René Goupil House, the Jesuit infirmary community in Pickering, Ontario, and to transfer most residents to two facilities with specialized COVID-19 care wings. The temporary move will take place this week as soon as the required protocols are completed.   

The two residents who have tested negative will remain in quarantine at La Storta, where their nursing needs (which are minor) can still be met. 

“The objective is to ensure the necessary conditions not only for the full recovery of the residents' health, but also to prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19, as well as to offer optimal long-term care,” said Fr. Erik Oland, S.J., provincial of the Jesuits of Canada. 

A “terminal clean” will be performed, observing directions provided by the Infection Prevention and Control team at Unity Health Toronto. As experts have pointed out, an outbreak is only over when the last resident has been symptom-free for 14 days, appropriate protocols have been implemented and a terminal clean has been carried out, which includes disinfecting every item and surface in the home. 

“As we work with local public health authorities, it is also becoming increasingly evident that changes need to be made to the building infrastructure to facilitate optimal long-term infection prevention and management. For example, the carpeting that covers much of the floor must be removed,” added Fr. Oland. 

René Goupil House has retained the services of one of the foremost care experts in Ontario, Dr. N.K. Becker.  Dr. Becker’s assessment and following report, along with that of the public health authorities, will determine long-term requirements as well as the exact timeline and resources needed to address them.  

“In the meantime, residents will continue to receive excellent care. This shift, although temporary, will be difficult for some of them. I ask for your prayers for them,” concluded Fr. Oland. “I want to express our deepest gratitude to the Jesuits and others who have volunteered to go to Pickering, and the staff of the infirmary for their leadership and selfless generosity in caring for our men. Without their support and input, I could not have come to this very difficult but necessary decision.” 


For additional information:  

José Sánchez  

Director of Communications   





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