Oxford Veterans’ Home Plans To Go Ahead With Parade During Pandemic
Published: May 6th, 2020
By: Zachary Meseck

Oxford Veterans’ Home plans to go ahead with parade during pandemic (Photo by Zachary Meseck)

OXFORD - The New York State Veterans’ Home at Oxford has confirmed that despite the pandemic, the parade called a “Parade For Our Heroes” will occur at the facility on May 13.

The preplanned parade comes after the facility announced in late April that two residents had died due to COVID-19. The nursing home is currently not allowing visitors into the facility.

The New York State Veterans’ Home confirmed Wednesday the parade will take place at 2 p.m., on May 13, out in front of the Veterans’ Home at 4207 State Highway 220 in Oxford.

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According to New York State Veterans’ Home Administrator Kurt Apthorpe, the event is an opportunity to show love and support to this nation's heroes with a parade around the perimeter of the Veterans’ Home, and fire trucks, police vehicles and motorcycles are welcome.

Apthorpe said the facility will be working to keep residents safe by having residents watch from the windows of the facility, and recording the parade for other residents to watch from their homes later that day.

He asked that parade attendees maintain social distancing guidelines, and remain in their vehicles throughout the event.

He discussed the deaths in a statement to the public late last month, and said staff members will continue to aggressively treat and care for residents with the virus.

“It saddens me to report that two residents with the virus have passed away. On behalf of myself and the entire staff of the Veterans’ Home, our condolences go out to their families,” said Apthorpe in a statement. “The Veterans’ Home staff continue to aggressively treat and care for those residents with the virus.”

Chenango County Public Health Environmental Health and Code Enforcement Divisions Director Isaiah Sutton said as long as social distancing guidelines are followed and measures are taken to keep the population of the veterans’ home safe, it could be a safe event.

“We haven’t been told about the parade, but depending on how it is organized, I’ve seen some that were done pretty well,” said Sutton. “There are ways I can imagine that it wouldn’t be safe.”

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“I think as long as everyone in the parade stays in their own vehicles and maintains a distance of at least six feet apart from others, it will be okay.”

Sutton said certain activities that have individuals remain in the vehicles, like going to the drive in theaters or attending a parking lot church service, have shown to have a very small chance of infection as long as everyone adheres to social distancing guidelines and New York State regulations.

Representative said those with questions may call the veterans’ home activities number at (607) 843-3126.

According to the facility, there are only 16 cases of the coronavirus at the veterans’ home. It had been incorrectly reported that in late April there were 18 cases.