Author

Kate Masters

Kate Masters

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. Before joining the Mercury in 2020, she covered state and county politics for the Bethesda Beat in Montgomery County, Md. She was named Virginia's outstanding young journalist for 2021 by the Virginia Press Association.

Northam requests federal aid to fully mobilize Virginia National Guard

By: - March 27, 2020

Virginia’s congressional delegation sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging him to “quickly approve” a request for federal funding for the Virginia National Guard. Gov. Ralph Northam requested funding on Tuesday under Title 32, a section of the U.S. code that enables the federal government to fully pay for a state’s National […]

Virginia pharmacists report growing demand for experimental COVID-19 medications

By: - March 27, 2020

Pharmacists across Virginia are reporting questionable prescriptions for a suite of drugs that have been promoted as unproven treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus.  On Wednesday, Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver issued a letter warning of a “surge in demand” for medications commonly used to treat malaria, lupus, […]

Expanded testing — and faster turnaround times — offer glimmer of hope in Virginia’s fight against COVID-19

By: - March 25, 2020

Virginia’s state laboratory in Richmond has quietly expanded its capacity for testing COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. Dena Potter, director of communications for the Department of General Services (the agency under which the state lab operates), said it’s now able to test more than 2,000 patients for the virus — […]

Virginia officials say they’re distributing protective equipment for medical workers. Not everyone is getting a share.

By: - March 25, 2020

Virginia’s emergency network for health facilities across the commonwealth is a one-way street when it comes to personal protective equipment. Member facilities can enter in what they need — hand sanitizer, for instance, or surgical masks — and six regional health care coalitions, which partner with the Virginia Health Department and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, […]

Nursing homes, assisted living facilities add new restrictions to curb COVID-19. Will they be enough?

By: - March 24, 2020

By March 12, Westminster Canterbury Richmond — a nearly 900-resident senior living facility near the city’s picturesque Bellevue neighborhood — was on lockdown. That day, staff got the news that a resident in neighboring Hanover County had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The proximity of the case […]

‘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 […]