The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has released data from the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 regarding workers’ compensation claims filed in those times. COVID-related filings were of particular interest to the group, which has been attempting to track all such cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to the recent set of CWCI data, Orange County/Inland Empire is one of California’s coronavirus hotspots in relation to affected workers. The group found that about 28.8% of all COVID-related workers’ comp claims filed in the last quarter of 2020 originated in Orange County. At the start of October, this percentage was lower at 24.5% of all cases.
The cause of Orange County’s increase in COVID-19 workers’ comp cases is not exactly clear. Although, in recent months, Orange County officials have faced some criticism for an arguably more-relaxed approach to lockdown procedures. In the spike of the holiday season, many eateries in Orange County remained open for “socially distanced” business, for example. The weakened restrictions could have feasibly contributed to more worker exposure to the virus, resulting in a surge of workers’ comp claims around New Year’s and beyond.
COVID Claims Counts in California
Based on CWCI estimations, there were nearly 118,000 coronavirus-related workers’ compensation claims throughout California for the entirety of 2020. Approximations show that more than 43,000 or so of those claims were filed in December alone, which has proven to be the worst month for the pandemic so far.
The trend of increasing workers’ compensation claims for COVID infections is not going away, either. Early calculations show that 50% of all California workers’ comp claims filed in January will be COVID-related.
CWCI has also warned that there could be a steady flow of COVID-related workers’ compensation cases even long after widespread vaccinations help curb the virus and work “returns to normal.” Many people might not experience concerning, outward symptoms for months before the virus worsens and they seek a diagnosis. There is also the likely chance, as investigated by groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), that the novel coronavirus is here to stay in some form due to frequent mutations, so people will need to get a yearly booster, much like a flu shot. If this is the case, then all states could be seeing COVID workers’ comp claims for quite some time.
For questions about COVID-19 and workers’ compensation claims filed in Orange County, you can come to Alvandi Law Group, P.C. From our offices in Newport Beach and Corona, we assist clients throughout Orange County and beyond. Contact us today to learn more.