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.

‘We are moving into a period of sacrifice.’ What you need to know about new Virginia school, business closures

By: and - March 23, 2020

Schools in Virginia will remain closed through at least the end of the academic year and the state will enforce a range of new restrictions on businesses and private gatherings, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday. “We are moving into a period of sacrifice,” Northam said. The new emergency order goes into effect Wednesday and lasts […]

Correctional officers stand at the entrance to the Greensville Correctional Center on Nov. 10, 2009, near Jarratt, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

No cases of COVID-19 in Virginia prisons, officials say — but no inmates have been tested

By: - March 22, 2020

In a Sunday briefing, state officials said that there have been no cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, among inmates at Virginia’s 40 state-run incarceration facilities. But Brian Moran, the commonwealth’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, also said that no inmates have been tested for the virus, […]

Northam sticks with decision not to close bars, restaurants and other businesses

By: - March 21, 2020

Virginia officials announced new actions on Saturday aimed at addressing a growing epidemic of COVID-19 — the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus.  And while the commonwealth has relaxed some of its criteria on testing and removed barriers for hospitals and nursing homes hoping to add beds, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is remaining […]

Doctors urge governor’s office to solve ‘desperate medical supply shortage’

By: - March 21, 2020

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is facing growing calls from doctors to address a statewide shortage of personal protective equipment spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 doctors across the state have signed a letter, released Saturday, calling on Northam and Health Secretary Dr. Daniel Carey to “solve the desperate medical supply shortage that is […]

Virginia health officials say they can test 1,000 people for COVID-19. Experts say that’s nowhere near enough.

By: - March 21, 2020

Lindsey Mace did exactly what she was supposed to do when she started feeling sick last week. She called her doctor at Richmond Family Practice and listed her symptoms: run-down and tired, with a lot of pressure in her chest and head. “It was at the point where I felt tired just taking the dog […]

Blood shortages are the latest concern in the coronavirus crisis

By: - March 18, 2020

Blood has become the latest casualty in the ongoing battle against coronavirus. Donations across Virginia dropped by 30 percent in the past few days as high schools, office buildings and college campuses — some of the biggest blood drive organizers — shut their doors. More than 4,000 blood drives have been canceled nationwide, leading to […]

What we know (and what we don’t) about Va.’s medical infrastructure, a crucial part of its coronavirus response

By: - March 18, 2020

At a news conference Wednesday, Virginia Health Secretary Dr. Daniel Carey provided the firmest estimates to date on the state’s capacity to respond to a surge of coronavirus cases. Virginia has nearly 2,000 licensed ICU beds, each with access to ventilators and other respiratory support equipment, he said. Those supplies are often needed for patients […]

Is Virginia prepared for a surge in coronavirus cases? So far, the state’s medical capacity remains a mystery.

By: - March 18, 2020

Amid a growing epidemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, there’s a glaring spotlight on fundamental medical equipment. Hospital beds and ventilators have become a matter of national concern, with federal experts citing limited supplies and possible shortages if there’s a surge in coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman […]

Virginia officials encourage social distancing, stop short of widespread closures or quarantine

By: - March 15, 2020

Starting Sunday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned any public event with more than 100 people — part of new measures to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. But he stopped short of a mandatory statewide quarantine or new restrictions on bars and restaurants, steps that other […]

Northam bans all gatherings with more than 100 people to curb spread of coronavirus

By: - March 15, 2020

Any gathering with more than 100 people is now banned in Virginia — part of new measures to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. Gov. Ralph Northam announced the changes on Sunday in a conference call with reporters and officials in the Peninsula health district, an […]

In the race to develop coronavirus testing, Virginia universities are stuck on hold

By: - March 13, 2020

In early February — just a few weeks after the U.S. confirmed its first case of coronavirus transmission — it wasn’t a question of when the University of Virginia would develop its own test for the virus. It was a question of whether to do it. “We were trying to decide whether or not we […]

State orders $2.7 million in respirator masks, but arrival date is still a mystery

By: - March 13, 2020

Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said the state ordered $2.7 million in respirator masks as part of its ongoing effort to respond to the growing spread of COVID-19 — the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The catch? The state isn’t sure when the shipment will arrive. Virginia was one of dozens […]