COVID-19 claims in Calif. fall nearly 99% in six months

Workers compensation claims for COVID-19 in California fell nearly 99% in the past six months from the state’s high of 43,109 coronavirus claims in December, said the California Workers Compensation Institute in a bulletin released Thursday.

Monthly counts of COVID-19 workers compensation claims fell to a 16-month low in June, but late reporting of the claims in the state is concerning, the CWCI said.

Coronavirus workers comp claims for May and June totaled 668 and 453, respectively, but will likely tick up from the reporting of additional claims from prior months.

In total, California workers have made 147,758 COVID-19 workers comp claims from Jan. 1, 2019, through June 30, 2021, including 1,012 deaths.

While in December 2020, about 95% of coronavirus claims were reported within 14 days of the alleged date of injury, that declined to 65% in May 2021. Between 89% and 91% of non-coronavirus claims were reported within two weeks of the alleged injury during the same time frame.

Agriculture workers were the last likely to promptly report COVID-19 claims in 2021 with 60.6% reporting within 14 days of alleged illness, with public safety/government workers promptly reporting at 68.2%, administration and waste sector workers at 78.4% and educators at 79.7%.

CWCI said the decline in COVID-19 claims reported within two weeks of alleged acquisition “may be early evidence of the long-haul effect of COVID-19 claims or changes in the level of attorney involvement. …”

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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