Sunrise Smart Start: Friday, December 31

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Friday, December 31, 2021.

In the final Sunrise Smart Start of 2021, News 8 wishes you and your family a satisfying end to the year.


Bello began the conversation by sharing the numbers of positive cases in Monroe County. On Thursday, the county reported 1822 new coronavirus cases and 921 cases in the seven-day rolling average.

The county executive was clear when reinstating that receiving vaccination from the coronavirus is the best way to reduce the number of hospitalizations.

“A lot of us are going to catch the omicron variant, even if you’re vaxxed,” Bello said. But it is unlikely that you get will hospitalized, and even less likely that you will die if you are vaccinated.”

Most recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials announced a new guidance in hopes to keep businesses open and help those who may have been infected return to work quicker.

Isolation period for Americans who catch the coronavirus is now halved from 10 to five days. That recommendation was made Monday.

Bello said that the state’s guidelines make the most sense and urged that the priority is to keep students in school, keep the economy of Monroe County open, all while managing the continuous spread.

“The New York State health department says that if you test positive, are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated and are an essential worker you can return to work after isolating for five days with a high quality mask,” Bello said. “We need to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed again. Vax, boost, mask and test is the way we get through this surge without shutting down our lives again.”

Governor Kathy Hochul has not announced that the state will be complying with the new recommendation of the CDC.

Teachers at Monroe County School Districts, frontline and county workers will also be handed the newly-acquired masks. Bello did not set an expected date on when the distribution would take place.

Rochester mourns the loss of Tim Mains, the first openly gay member of Rochester’s City Council. Mains passed away Thursday at the age of 73.

Mains was a long-standing leader at the Rochester City School District and was highly regarded throughout his career.

He was the Principal of School 50 for over 10 years, and the Director of Internal School Operations, where he led a team focused on quality assurance and systems integrity.

Mayor James Smith issued a statement tonight on his passing. “Tim was also a vocal and well-known activist for gay rights long before his initial forays into politics and he was incredibly passionate about helping those impacted by AIDS and HIV.”

Mains made Rochester a richer community for his activism and service in both government and public education.

Flags at City facilities will remain at half-staff.

According to authorities, the residence was badly damaged over the course of the fire. The complete extend of damage has not been released by law enforcement at this time.

The man is expected to recover from his injuries which are considered non life-threatening, police say.

Smoke inhalation was the cause of his injuries. The fire crews made it to the scene of the incident at 3:30 a.m.

Save Rochester is putting together food baskets with at-home COVID tests to deliver to families in need. 

“What we’re trying to do is we’re really trying to emphasize preventive care, so make sure people are taking those COVID tests before they go into large crowds, young children making sure they are COVID-free before they go back into schools,” said Mike Johnson, the Founder of Save Rochester. 

By offering family the tests for free, and delivering them, they’re taking those burdens away. 

“We’re sending the message that we’re here for the community, we understand what challenges they’re facing, and most importantly, we’re gonna try to do as much as we can to start at trying to stay ahead of some of the challenges of poverty,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said Save Rochester has a database of more than 200 clients they serve, and these baskets go out on a need-base basis.

Johnson said they will be handing out the baskets for the foreseeable future. They hope to continue getting testing kits donated to them by the United Way so they can continue providing them to families.

“Until poverty is no more. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to save. I know sounds like a really lofty goal, but it really is a continuous fight,” Johnson said. “So, we do rely on heavily on the support from the community, because we survived about two years now with $0 in federal funding.”

Thinking back on the past 12 months can, at times, feel both like a distant and recent memory.

Much of this year has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic — locally, nationally, beyond — but there were other important moments that this community will not soon forget, and some others we’d rather not remember.

This is a look back at some of those moments from the year that was in our corner of the world, in chronological order.

Our final day of 2021 will be warm as temperatures surge into the upper 40s to around 50 degrees. A few showers will be out there, but large chunks of the day will be dry.

January 1st: New Years day will follow suit with what was left behind by the end of 2021 and carry warm air throughout Rochester with a spot or two of rain. The second part of the weekend may be more treacherous as freezing rain is expected to impact local roadways. We might also see snow again to start the new year.

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