Author

Kate Masters

Kate Masters

An award-winning reporter, Kate grew up in Northern Virginia before moving to the Midwest, earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She spent a year covering gun violence and public health for The Trace in Boston before joining The Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Md. While at the News-Post, she won first place in feature writing and breaking news from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, and Best in Show for her coverage of the local opioid epidemic. Before joining the Mercury in 2020, she covered state and county politics for the Bethesda Beat in Montgomery County, Md.

A Henrico facility’s outbreak was among nation’s deadliest at a nursing home. Experts say others are just as vulnerable.

By: - April 20, 2020

In late March, staff at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Henrico turned to Genetworx, a private diagnostic lab in nearby Glen Allen, to begin testing residents for COVID-19 — the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The Henrico County Health Department urged them to be cautious. In a March 25 letter to Dr. […]

Northam eases restrictions on nurse practitioners, other providers in response to COVID-19 pandemic

By: - April 17, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that he will temporarily ease regulations requiring nurse practitioners to work under the supervision of a physician, among other restrictions on medical providers being lifted in response to the pandemic.  His new executive order allows nurse practitioners with at least two years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborative […]

Amid outbreak, Virginia’s health department keeping some COVID-19 information under wraps

By: - April 17, 2020

At first, information on COVID-19 in Virginia came out in a trickle. For several weeks after the first infection was identified, health officials often reported cases, and especially deaths, by health district — 35 regions encompassing multiple counties and dozens of miles. They often declined to identify cases with more geographic specificity, saying it could […]

Details of $27 million order for personal protective equipment still unavailable, more than a week after announcement

By: - April 16, 2020

More than a week after Gov. Ralph Northam announced a $27 million contract to procure more personal protective equipment for medical providers, state officials have yet to make a copy of the contract publicly available or provide specific details on the order. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted last week by […]

New models show social distancing working in Virginia, but cases still could exceed hospital capacity

By: - April 13, 2020

Virginia’s social distancing measures are slowing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, according to a new model from scientists at the University of Virginia. But the model, presented Monday by state health officials and researchers from UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute, also projects that case numbers will eventually exceed the surge capacity […]

Nurse practitioners say supervision requirements are a hindrance amid COVID-19 pandemic

By: - April 13, 2020

As Virginia continues to grapple with a growing number of COVID-19 cases, nurse practitioners are calling for a waiver of regulations that still require many to practice under a doctor’s supervision. Virginia relaxed some restrictions on nurse practitioners in 2018 with a new law allowing them to apply for an autonomous practice license after five […]

Virginia contracts with McKinsey to secure more testing supplies, personal protective equipment

By: - April 10, 2020

Virginia officials have signed a contract with the global management consultant firm McKinsey & Company in efforts to procure more personal protective equipment and testing supplies for COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. Virginia Health Secretary Daniel Carey announced the contract at a news briefing on Friday. The state will pay […]

Virginia’s senators call on federal government to explain seizures of medical supplies

By: - April 10, 2020

Virginia’s senators are asking Vice President Mike Pence to explain why the federal government is seizing orders of medical equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) sent a letter Friday to Pence and Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, asking them to “explicitly and transparently lay […]

Virginia medical providers want liability protections during the COVID-19 pandemic

By: - April 10, 2020

A group of 19 Virginia medical associations sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday, requesting legal protections for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter, signed by such major industry players as the Medical Society of Virginia and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, includes a draft executive order and calls on Northam […]

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities want more information from state on COVID-19 outbreaks

By: - April 9, 2020

LeadingAge Virginia — an association of nonprofit senior living centers — asked the Virginia Department of Health last week for a daily list of nursing homes and assisted living facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks. “We just wanted the names of the communities,” said Dana Parsons, the association’s vice president and legislative counsel, in an interview Tuesday. […]

Virginia’s state lab is one of the first in the country to sequence samples of virus that causes COVID-19

By: - April 8, 2020

Buried in the genetic code of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, are mutations that can help scientists learn more about where the disease started and how it’s continuing to spread. Virginia’s state laboratory is one of three public health labs in the country to begin unraveling that code, Gov. Ralph Northam announced at […]

Virginia to get more protective medical gear via $27 million deal with a private supplier

By: - April 6, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that the state has reached a $27 million deal with the medical logistics company Northfield as part of an effort to relieve what he described as a “severe shortage” of personal protective equipment in Virginia and across the country. “We have been working every angle to buy more PPE,” he […]