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.

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 […]

Virus hangs over final day of legislative session as Northam declares state of emergency

By: - March 12, 2020

State officials bumped elbows instead of shaking hands. Two senators asked to delay a crucial budget vote. And Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, delivered an impassioned plea for an extended session — a request that earned him groans on the floor of the House of Delegates. It was a dramatic end to an already dramatic Virginia […]

After standoff, House and Senate to seal deal to stem college tuition costs

By: - March 12, 2020

For the last few days of the 2020 General Assembly session, college tuition freezes were a sticking point for House and Senate budget negotiators. Such a sticking point, in fact, that legislators extended their deadline for reaching a deal. But a last-minute compromise appeared to offer the best of both worlds for legislators from both […]

With limited coronavirus testing, Virginia encourages residents to turn to private labs

By: - March 11, 2020

As Virginia works to preserve its own limited stockpile of tests for COVID-19, the disease caused by a strain of novel coronavirus, health officials are encouraging residents who don’t meet the state’s risk assessment to pursue testing through private labs. The messaging comes less than a week after LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, two of the […]

Inside (another) failed attempt to reform health care facility approvals in Virginia

By: - March 10, 2020

On a June day in 2019, a familiar cast of characters assembled in the East Reading Room of the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond. There was Michael McDermott, CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg. Mike Gentry, COO for Sentara Healthcare, was there, too, representing a sprawling network of 12 hospitals and dozens of health […]

Virginia’s first two cases of COVID-19 linked to international travel

By: - March 8, 2020

Health experts in Fairfax County are releasing few details on the state’s first two presumed positive cases of novel coronavirus. But they did tell Virginians that the risk to the general population is “extremely low” in a news conference that left several questions unanswered, including the name of the cruise line on which the second […]

Virginia General Assembly caps insulin costs at $50 a month

By: - March 6, 2020

One of the biggest bills of the year is one nobody is talking about, Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, wrote in a tweet on Friday — a hard cap on the price of insulin in Virginia. Insurers are now limited to charging a maximum of $50 a month for the drug after Del. Lee Carter, […]

‘A momentous moment for Virginians’ after General Assembly unanimously passes legislation to end surprise medical bills

By: - March 6, 2020

It took weeks of negotiations to settle on an end to balance billing, a much-loathed feature of Virginia’s medical system that’s been locked in a legislative deadlock for years. Lawmakers were jubilant on Thursday as both the House and Senate unanimously passed identical legislation to remove the risk of surprise hospital bills for some Virginians. […]