Sunrise Smart Start: Tuesday, November 2

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.


Voter Guide 2021: Everything you need to know for today’s general election

Election Day has arrived and there are some key races at stake.

First things first: Check your voter registration. The Monroe County Board of Elections has an online portal set up where you can check your registration status, find your polling site, and see a sample your ballot.

In addition to candidates, New Yorkers will see five propositions on the ballot. The five proposals can be voted on statewide, though the first three have the most effect on the state as a whole. The final only affects New York City, but the whole state can vote on it. 

In New York state, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but some have already cast their ballots.

Early voting took place from Saturday, October 23 through Sunday, October 31. In Monroe County, a total of 2,633 voters cast their ballot on the final day of early voting, bringing the county’s total of early votes cast to 16,390 — approximately 3.23% of voters, according to Board of Elections officials. Additionally, the county received nearly 7,000 absentee ballots, according to the Board of Elections Monday.

Click here to see a list of candidates and races.


COVID vaccine for kids 5-11 packed and shipped, 1st shots could happen midweek

Anticipating a green light from vaccine advisers, the Biden administration is assembling and shipping millions of COVID-19 shots for children ages 5-11, the White House said Monday. The first could go into kids’ arms by midweek.

“We are not waiting on the operations and logistics,” said coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients.

By vaccinating children, the U.S. hopes to head off another coronavirus wave during the cold-weather months when people spend more time indoors and respiratory illnesses can spread more easily. Cases have been declining for weeks, but the virus has repeatedly shown its ability to stage a comeback and more easily transmissible mutations are a persistent threat.

On Tuesday, a special advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to consider detailed recommendations for administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to younger children. The Food and Drug Administration already cleared the shots, which deliver about one-third of the vaccine given to adults. After CDC advisers make their recommendations, agency director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will give the final order.

Zients said the government has enough of the Pfizer vaccine for all 28 million children in the 5-11 age group. “We’re in great shape on supply,” Zients said during the White House coronavirus briefing.

The children’s vaccination drive is expected to start later this week and go into full swing by next week. Parents will be able to go to vaccines.gov and filter on vaccines for children 5-11 to find a location near them that is offering the shot.

Pfizer’s vaccine already has been authorized for use in older children.


FDA delaying decision on Moderna shot for 12- to 17-year-olds

U.S. regulators are delaying their decision on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 17-year-olds while they study the rare risk of heart inflammation, the company said Sunday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the company Friday evening that its review could last until January, Moderna said.

The company also said it will delay filing a request for emergency-use authorization of a lower dose of the vaccine for 6- to 11-year-olds.

Heart inflammation is an exceedingly rare risk of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and it more commonly seen in young men or boys. It’s difficult for clinical trials to detect such a rare problem. And public health officials have repeatedly stressed that COVID-19 itself can cause heart inflammation at higher rates than the rare cases caused by the vaccine.

In the U.S., the Moderna vaccine is authorized for people 18 and older.

Moderna said more than 1.5 million adolescents around the world have received its vaccine and that the number of heart inflammation reports “does not suggest an increased risk” for those under 18.

U.S. children from 12 to 17 can get the vaccine produced by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

The FDA last week moved to allow use of the Pfizer shots in children between 5 and 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is debating that this week.

Moderna also has been testing two shots, one month apart, for children 6 to 11, at half the dose given to adults.


Mayor: 9 in 10 NYC workers vaccinated as deadline nears

Nine in 10 New York City municipal workers received COVID-19 vaccinations as a Monday deadline loomed under a city mandate, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio tweeted Saturday night that 91% of city workers had received the vaccine, which represented a jump from about 83% as of Friday night.

Under a city mandate, those who haven’t received at least one dose of the vaccine will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday, raising the possibility of shortages of police, fire and EMS workers. New York has more than 300,000 employees.

The police department, which employs about 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees, reported an 84% vaccination rate as of Sunday morning, while roughly two in 10 of the fire department’s roughly 17,000 employees remained unvaccinated as of Friday night. Updated fire department figures were expected later Sunday.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro denied reports that some firehouses had been closed due to shortages.

“The department has not closed any firehouses,” Nigro said in a statement Sunday. “Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters. They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”

City officials have considered various measures to deal with an expected staffing shortfall Monday.


171 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County, 4 new deaths, 4.3% average positivity rate

Officials from the Monroe County Department of Public Health reported 171 new COVID-19 cases Monday, and 4 new deaths.

County officials report COVID-19 deaths weekly on Mondays. To date, 1,439 Monroe County residents have died from COVID-19.

Of the 198 people who died from COVID-19 between March 1, 2021 and October 31, 2021, 93% of those under age 65 were not fully vaccinated. Among those 65 and older, 71% were not fully vaccinated. The county health department will update those numbers on the first Monday of each month.

The county is now averaging 195 new cases per day over the past week. Monroe County now has a seven-day rolling average positivity rate of 4.3%.

County officials say 251 new cases were discovered Saturday, and 218 new cases were discovered Sunday.

According to the New York State Department of Health, 241 people in the Finger Lakes region were hospitalized with the virus Friday, including 63 in an ICU.

As of the Monroe County COVID-19 dashboard’s last local vaccination update October 25, 444,586 county residents are fully vaccinated and 493,141 have received at least one dose of the vaccine — 76.7% of the county population.


Former Assemblyman Brian Kolb pleads guilty to driving while impaired

Former New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb pleaded guilty to charges of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) Monday in Penfield Town Court.

Kolb was arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated on New Years Eve in 2019. After the arrest, he stepped down from his position as Assembly Minority Leader, but maintained that he would stay in office. Shortly thereafter, however, Kolb announced he would not seek reelection.

According to police, Kolb blew twice the legal limit on a breathalyzer test. He was driving his state-owned SUV when it slid into a ditch at the end of his driveway in Victor. According the police report, Kolb initially blamed his wife.

DWAI is a traffic violation in New York, not a misdemeanor like DWI or felony like aggravated DWI.

As a result of his guilty plea, Kolb’s license will be suspended for 90 days. He’ll also face a $500 fine and $260 surcharge. Kolb will have to attend a victim impact panel, and complete an impaired driver course as well.


Weather forecast: Lake effect rain and snow showers get going as we welcome November

Welcome to November, everyone.

It’s a busy month with holidays, falling temperatures and often our first accumulating snow of the season. On that note, there may very well be a few spots in the coming days that see the first flakes dance across the sky. We’ll get there in a moment. Into the evening, much of the area stays partly cloudy as temperatures slide into the 40s, destined for middle 30s by early Tuesday morning.

Lake Ontario is currently producing a robust band of lake effect rain in a regime of west to east flow. This will keep that band well to our north over the lake as it connects to the Watertown area. Lake Erie will also start spouting cold rain tonight, mixing with or even changing to snow overnight as the band peppers parts of Wyoming county with a rain/snow mix. This flow tends to keep the Rochester area day.

That should set us up for a colder but mainly dry Tuesday under partly cloudy skies. Same deal, there will be a few rain/snow showers to our southeast and northeast, but we’ll remain withing the break between them. A chunk of upper energy will swing by Tuesday night. This will cause a few rain/snow showers as it passes, ultimately shifting the winds to a more northerly component.

This will take the lake effect band over Lake Erie and drop it southward into Wednesday morning. This may prove to be the Rochester area’s best chance for our first flakes as this band drops in a borderline cold air mass with temperatures in the 30s (but above freezing). While we can’t rule out a brief whitening of grassy surfaces in Wayne county, this appears to simply be flakes flying vs. flakes sticking.

We’ll remain in this cool pattern for the rest of the week with daily highs in the 40s and overnight lows in the 30s, including a few nights midweek where we’ll drop below freezing. Should be back in the 50s with sunshine by the weekend.

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