Few Virus Cases in Working Age Californians Result in Comp Claims

Only one-in-14 COVID-19 cases involving working-age Californians from May through September of 2020 has been claimed as a job injury, while only 1-in-25 COVID-19 deaths among working age individuals has been claimed to be work-related according to a new California Workers’ Compensation Institute analysis.

The CWCI in September found the virus accounted for one-in-nine workers’ comp claims.

CWCI researchers compiled data on COVID-19 cases among Californians between ages of 18 and 65 from the California Department of Public Health and COVID-19 workers’ comp claims data from the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The DPH had reliable data on the age of COVID-19 patients beginning in May, which CWCI also was able to obtain from the DWC data, so the CWCI analysis focused on COVID-19 cases from May through September, reported to DPH or the DWC as of Oct. 19, with an adjustment applied to account for notification delays.

CWCI determined there were 647,196 COVID-19 cases among working-age Californians during the study period, of which 7.2% resulted in workers’ comp claims.

The CWCI analysis also looked at the number of non-occupational and workers’ comp COVID-19 death claims based on the actual number of death claims involving working age individuals with May through September injury dates.

While more than 17,000 Californians have died from COVID-19 this year, about three-fourths of them were over age of 65, which is beyond the “working-age” parameter used in the analysis. Over the five-month study period, the DPH data showed that 3,714 working-age Californians died from COVID-19, while the DWC data showed 4.1% have so far resulted in workers’ comp death claims.

While both the workers’ comp COVID-19 claim counts and the number of COVID-19 death claims continue20 to change, and are likely to increase as the state’s economy opens up, the CWCI analysis confirms that at this point the vast majority of COVID-19 cases among working-age Californians have not resulted in workers’ comp claims.

CWCI continues to study the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s workers’ comp system and posts data on its COVID-19/Non-COVID 19 Interactive Data Application.


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