HEALTH

Youngkin still won’t say how his school masking opt-out order will be enforced

BY: - January 18, 2022

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin won’t confirm whether his administration plans to withhold state funding from local school divisions that don’t comply with an executive order allowing parents to opt out of universal masking policies.  The possibility was first raised by Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears in a Monday afternoon appearance on Fox News. While Youngkin had […]

Virginia lawmakers propose decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms

BY: - January 14, 2022

Three Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end felony penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms, citing the drug’s growing acceptance in medicinal contexts. “It is increasingly a recognized treatment for refractory depression and PTSD,” said Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, a nurse practitioner whose legislation would also decriminalize peyote, a cactus that contains the psychedelic […]

Northam OKs emergency order to help hospitals handle COVID-19 spike

BY: - January 10, 2022

In his final week in office, Gov. Ralph Northam is approving a limited emergency order meant to give hospitals and public-health agencies more resources to respond to surging COVID-19 hospitalizations. In a news release Monday, the governor’s office said the 30-day order would “expand the number of available hospital beds, increase staffing capacity at hospitals […]

Youngkin names John Littel as Virginia’s next secretary of Health and Human Resources

BY: - January 10, 2022

Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin appointed John Littel, an executive for the health care company Magellan, as Virginia’s next secretary of health and human resources. The selection, announced in a news release on Monday, comes as the state battles record high numbers of coronavirus cases and an increasingly beleaguered health care system. Littel will replace interim Health […]

Even with ‘milder’ disease, Virginia’s latest COVID-19 surge is straining hospitals

BY: - January 8, 2022

On Friday, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association announced a concerning milestone for the state — COVID-19 hospitalizations had reached an all-time single-day high of 3,329, surpassing the state’s previous single-day peak, in January of last year, by nearly 130 admissions. The total included both confirmed positives and 226 patients with pending tests, which could […]

Virginia to open COVID-19 testing centers as demand — and new cases — continue to surge

BY: - January 6, 2022

As Virginians struggle to access COVID-19 testing amid an ongoing surge, the state’s health department will open nine new community testing centers to increase accessibility, according to a news release from Gov. Ralph Northam. The sites will be near, or on the same property, as existing community vaccination centers in Charlottesville, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Newport […]

Can’t find a COVID test in Virginia? Officials are blaming supply and staffing shortfalls.

BY: - January 5, 2022

Virginia’s COVID-19 testing numbers have reached all-time highs over the last several days as the highly transmissible omicron variant moves across the commonwealth. But even as cases reach historic levels — with more than 15,000 new infections reported on Tuesday alone, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health — experts say it’s likely […]

As COVID-19 cases surge, officials urge against unnecessary ER visits

BY: - December 30, 2021

State health officials and the association representing Virginia hospitals are urging against unnecessary emergency room visits as COVID-19 cases spike across the commonwealth in the final days of 2021. “Hospitals across Virginia have recently experienced an influx of patients seeking emergency department care for asymptomatic or relatively mild COVID-19 infections as well as cases of […]

COMMENTARY

Home care is a lifeline for people with disabilities. Congress has to find a way to invest in it.

BY: - December 22, 2021

By Steve Grammer In high school, while my classmates were away on college visits, I toured nursing homes. Even though I was just 18, I was informed that I would soon be living in one. It was true: Barely into my 20s, I was moved to a nursing home where my roommates were elderly Alzheimer […]

Prescription drug price reform on the line in Biden’s big social spending bill

BY: - December 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — Among the most potentially transformational changes in the Democrats’ massive social and climate bill pending in the Senate are a set of long-sought changes intended to tamp down the fast-rising cost of prescription drugs. The $2 trillion spending package would ensure Americans don’t pay more than $35 when they pick up a new […]

COMMENTARY

How effective are vaccines against omicron? An epidemiologist answers six questions

BY: - December 17, 2021

By Melissa Hawkins, American University The pandemic has brought many tricky terms and ideas from epidemiology into everyone’s lives. Two particularly complicated concepts are vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. These are not the same thing. And as time goes on and new variants like omicron emerge, they are changing, too. Melissa Hawkins is an epidemiologist and […]

Biden pick to lead FDA fields questions over pharma ties, abortion pill, COVID tests

BY: - December 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration drew praise from a top Senate Republican, as well as critical questions from conservatives and others during a Tuesday confirmation hearing. Dr. Robert Califf fielded queries on his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, the pandemic-loosened rules around abortion drugs and frustrations involving COVID-19 […]