Sunrise Smart Start: Wednesday, December 29

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Wednesday, December 29, 2021.

Officials from the Monroe County Department of Public Health reported 1,100 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

That number includes 525 laboratory-confirmed positive results and 544 reported positive at-home tests.

Officials say there was a delay in reporting test results due to the recent holiday and this backlog will take “several days” to clear.

County officials report COVID-19 deaths weekly on Mondays. To date, 1,568 Monroe County residents have died from COVID-19.

In a letter to families on the BCSD website, Superintendent Kevin McGowan wrote: “It may seem silly to some, but the fact that ‘Jingle Bells’ was first performed in minstrel shows where white actors performed in blackface does actually matter when it comes to questions of what we use as material in school.”

According to Boston University professor Kyna Hamill, who researched the song’s origins for a 2017 article: “The legacy of ‘Jingle Bells’ is, as we shall see, a prime example of a common misreading of much popular music from the nineteenth century in which its blackface and racist origins have been subtly and systematically removed from its history.”

McGowan said he addressed the song situation after a community member penned an article in the online publication The Rochester Beacon about the matter and how it was no longer being taught at the district’s Council Rock Primary School.

According to the district’s K-2 Diversity and Equity curriculum for Council Rock Primary School, “Jingle Bells” isn’t the only song that is no longer taught to students:

“In researching ways to best answer my essential question, and best serve the needs of all my students, I started with revising the curriculum and content used with our students at Council Rock.

Last year, Brighton announced it would be changing its mascot from the “Barons” to the “Bruins” in one of a few “significant” steps forward for the district toward “diversity, equity and inclusion.”

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, weather and road conditions caused the operator to lost control of the vehicle while travelling Northbound on Clover Street.

Officials say the vehicle hit the guardrail and rolled over, trapping the driver in the process.

Officials say the operator managed to escape from the vehicle on their own and was transported to Rochester General Hospital for treatment to injuries.

But with worsening numbers across the board, and the omicron variant now in the mix, Brown says how the public reacts could change things; part of that is wearing a mask.

“For the general public it’s still recommended to use a cloth facemask or a surgical or procedural mask,” Brown told News 8.

When you reach for a mask, Brown says to take a look at how many layers it has.

“It’s really important to consider masks with multiple layers. I’ve gone to some public places and seen people just wearing a bandana tied around their face, that is not an effective form of protection,” Brown said.

Masking up is one way experts say the case load, and the strain on hospitals, will stop swelling.

News 8 was on-hand as several dozen showed up for a test in Pittsford Tuesday, because of everything from traveling, to get-togethers and omicron.

“Not scared to death, but concerned. I mean the numbers are astronomical,” Brian Leavy said.

Monroe County offered the free testing at site in Pittsford; for a full list of the county sites, click here.

The City says it has no big gatherings planned instead, City Hall is hoping Rochestarians celebrate at the local bars and restaurants, ‘that could use the support’.

After almost two years, Ross Mueller who owns the restaurant ‘Native‘, says things are slowly getting better for business. “We’re definitely seeing an increase in customers willing to come out,” he says.

Even with COVID cases skyrocketing, he says people feel at ease in a spacious place like this. But for those big holiday money-making events, not so much.

“…You’re still seeing those large Christmas parties and group gatherings that are canceling like they did last year,” says Mueller.

A lower level of staffing is also a hurdle. They’ll still be throwing a soiree, albeit toned down, nothing like New Year’s Eve 2019– but they’re ready to make it memorable– and safe. 

“There’s sanitation, there’s air filtration, there are measures these guys are taking. We’ve been doing it a long time,” he says.

Wednesday is expected to be mild all around with temperatures sitting at 35 throughout the day in addition to some coverage from clouds up above.

Thursday will be warmer as two storm systems heading from the west side of the country will slowly make their way into Rochester as we approach New Years. Temperatures will rise into low 40s with some sun.

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