Nearly everybody who continues to go to work through these difficult times has a number of questions lingering in the back of their mind, including what happens if someone at my work has tested positive for coronavirus and I may have been exposed? Will I be covered by work comp?
With the number of cases increasing every day, those are all valid questions that are very new and will need to be looked at through the prism and experience of other cases that dealt with occupational hazards. But the short answer is most likely yes, so long as it can be shown that your exposure more likely than not happened at work. While it is true that everybody seems to be at risk nowadays and social distancing is recommended for people in public places, some situations do not allow those distancing safeguards and you do not get much say about physical boundaries. We see those situations at work all the time, where you have to work with a partner or a coworker who has to be in close proximity, or with a client or patient who requires direct contact. In those cases, your odds of contracting the coronavirus disease are much higher, so doing those activities at work puts you at the increased risk of infection, which makes you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits should you get exposed to coronavirus or get diagnosed with COVID-19.
Workers’ compensation benefits for people with COVID-19 would be essentially the same as for people with other work injuries or occupational diseases. If you have to miss time from work because you tested positive, you would be eligible for wage loss benefits through work comp, and your medical treatment would be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. You, and possibly your dependents, would be covered for a number of other benefits provided for by the Minnesota workers’ compensation statute, but those would need to be determined on a case by case basis.
If you get exposed to coronavirus at work, one of the main things to do is not to panic and feel like you are alone. Please feel free to call us or submit your questions online to get informed about your rights and workers’ comp benefits.