Noelle E. C. Evans


Noelle E. C. Evans is a general assignment reporter/producer for WXXI News with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.

Noelle previously worked in Quito, Ecuador, for a Latin American media organization. She has a nuanced understanding of the need for freedom of the press, and is conversational in Spanish.

Noelle is a BBC Grace Wyndham Goldie scholar (2016) and has worked with BBC Radio Wales and the BBC World Service. She received her M.A. in International Journalism from Cardiff University in Wales – one of the top ten ranking journalism schools in the U.K. Noelle was awarded the university’s USA Excellence Scholarship in 2016.

She began as an intern at WXXI in 2014.

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Nearly 320 people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized and around 60 are in intensive care units in the Finger Lakes region.

Some hospitals are getting overwhelmed, and that’s affecting patients without the disease as well.

Dr. Ryan Hoefen is a cardiologist at Rochester Regional Health. This week, he’s been making rounds on patients in the ICU at Unity Hospital. He said that Rochester General Hospital and Unity are nearing capacity, and some patients are on beds in hallways at Unity.

As parts of Monroe County enter the Orange Zone, the Mental Health Association of Rochester is transitioning its services to all virtual.

Melanie Funchess, Director of Community Engagement with the MHA, said that peer support, family support, and creative wellness opportunities like art workshops and meditation are available to anyone.

“It is important for you to continue to mask up, keep your social distance and do those things and we will support you all that we can,” Funchess said.

photos provided by Mubarak Bashir and Rabbi Avi Kilimnick

As parts of Monroe County phase into an Orange Zone, houses of worship will have to limit their services to either 33% of capacity or 25 people, whichever is fewer.

At the Baitun Naseer Mosque on East Main Street, Muslim prayer services have already been limited to ten people at a time. Worshipers social distance instead of standing shoulder to shoulder, as is customary, and they also now bring their own prayer rugs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On Thursday, Monroe County reported 373 new cases of coronavirus, an all-time high for new daily cases. County officials warn that numbers could rise even more if people are not careful around Thanksgiving.

The holiday is next week, and the debate over enforcing how many people can gather in a home has been a hot topic.

Alex Turner

Family gatherings at Thanksgiving are a tradition, but with the coronavirus pandemic, they can also be risky.

Some local families are finding ways around that. Alex Turner’s family has a new ritual.

“We just set up a video call, set the computer up somewhere in the kitchen, and then we cook and we talk and we lift up the plate to the camera and say, 'Is this about how it’s supposed to look?' ” Turner said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Science Source / NPR

The daily number of new COVID-19 cases for Monroe County hit another record.

Thursday, the county’s Department of Public Health reported 300 new confirmed cases of coronavirus. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 227 per day, and the positivity rate is 4.34%.

There were two new deaths reported, the total number of deaths is 309 to date.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza says that when it comes to flattening the curve, the health department is facing greater resistance from the public than before. 

provided by Christina Knauf and Allison Green

When most of Monroe County was designated a yellow zone on Monday over rising coronavirus cases, preschool classes for students with disabilities at CP Rochester switched to remote learning on a moment’s notice.

Allison Green’s 4-year-old daughter, Emma, was caught off guard this week when her school bus didn’t arrive.

“It led to tons of emotions this morning, lots of crying and just complete and utter meltdown over the fact of 'where's her bus?’ ” Green said Wednesday.

provided by Julio Saenz

Latino voters are more complex than one label can capture. 

Veteran journalist Julio Saenz, who has covered Hispanic communities across the U.S. and currently works with Ibero-American Action League, said that it comes as no surprise that there would be a split within a community so rich with various histories and cultures.  

Max Schulte / WXXI News


COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Monroe County and local officials are calling for greater vigilance as the holiday season approaches to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed and to protect each other from infection.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the greatest increases are coming from indoor gatherings of large groups in homes, bars, and restaurants. Zip codes in Greece, Webster, Irondequoit, and Perinton have all seen a rise in infections, he said. 

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

While election results won’t be official until absentee ballots are counted, one local Native American voter says that there is more than partisan politics on the line.


Michael Galban is a Native American citizen of the Washoe and Northern Paiute people. He says that while some Indigenous people do not vote in U.S. elections, he did.