California COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claim Volume Trending up Again

December 22, 2020

California workers’ comp COVID-19 monthly claim volume, which fell sharply in August and September, is now trending up again, climbing 9.0% in October, then more than doubling in November, according to a California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

The CWCI reviewed claims reported to the state Division of Workers’ Compensation as of Dec. 14.

Updated figures show that the number of COVID-19 workers’ comp claims reported to the state each month rose steadily from January through July of this year, when it peaked at 14,925 cases, then tailed off sharply at the end of the summer, dropping 56.5% in August and then falling another 34.7% in September.

The Dec. 14 tally noted 4,628 COVID-19 claims from October and 10,395 claims from November, bringing the total number of reported virus claims through November to 65,165, or nearly one out of every 8 California workers’ comp claims reported this year.

Claims from October and November are still coming in or still under investigation, so the number of COVID-19 claims from those months will be increasing, according to CWCI.

CWCI’s projected COVID-19 claim count based on historical claim development that accounts for delayed reporting of COVID-19 claims estimates that ultimately there will be 5,415 claims from October, and 17,312 claims from November.

Even with the addition of the COVID-19 claims to the 2020 total, DWC has recorded only 531,959 work injury claims from the first 11 months of this year, down from 639,649 claims from the first 11 months of 2019, as the economic slowdown and the large number of Californians working from home has reduced the number of job injuries.

The CWCI report also shows: the Inland Empire/Orange County accounted for more COVID-19 claims in October and November than any other region; healthcare workers’ share of the COVID-19 claims has declined from 47.8% last spring to 31.2% this fall; males and younger workers have seen their share of the COVID-19 claims increase.

CWCI members and research subscribers also access a detailed summary of the latest results in the CWCI Bulletin.