CWCI: California Workers’ Comp Virus Claim Count Tops 50,000

November 10, 2020

There have been 50,592 COVID-19 claims reported to the state Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) so far this year – including 282 death claims, according to latest tally by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

That translates to one out of every nine California job injury claims reported for accident year (AY) 2020. The California workers’ comp COVID-19 monthly claim count peaked in July.

The latest figures show that after climbing rapidly over the first seven months of this year and hitting a record 14,453 claims in July, the number of COVID-19 workers’ comp claims reported to the DWC began to dwindle. The updated count shows 6,710 claims with August injury dates, 3,779 claims with September injury dates, and 2,016 claims with October injury dates, according to the CWCI.

A significant number of claims from September and October could still be reported, but the initial counts from both months were far below the early counts from June and July, so even accounting for the reporting lag associated with COVID-19 claims, those figures suggest a significant downtrend, the CWCI reported.

CWCI projects 15,786 COVID-19 claims with July injury dates, 6,910 claims with August injury dates, 4,535 claims with September injury dates, and 5,242 claims with October injury dates, putting the projected number of COVID-19 claims for the first 10 months of AY 2020 at 57,833.

“Notably, denial rates for COVID-19 claims have stabilized within a narrow range, holding between 28.7 percent and 31.3 percent from April through August, while denial data on September and October claims is still too green for analysis as many of those claims remain under investigation,” CWCI stated. “The distribution by industry shows that COVID-19 claims remain heavily concentrated among a small number of industry sectors, with more than three quarters of the claims from the first 10 months of this year involving workers in health care (37.1 percent); public safety/government (15.0 percent); manufacturing (8.3 percent); retail (7.9 percent); transportation (5.1 percent), and food service (4.4 percent).”

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