An employee bears the burden to show they contracted COVID-19 at work.
An employee must show it is probable, not just possible that they contracted COVID-19 at work.
If an employer has effective policies and procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread, this might help show that COVID-19 was contracted outside work, unless there is an outbreak among co-employees at work.
If other employees have COVID-19, it is more likely Claimant contracted the disease at work. If none/few are sick, it is less likely to be work-related.
So far, Iowa has not enacted any new legislation relating to compensability of COVID-19, but other states recently have. For example, in Illinois, if front-line medical workers contract COVID-19, there is now a legal presumption they contracted it at work.
COVID-19 is different than any disease we have seen before. It is highly contagious, and could potentially infect a high percentage of people who work in close quarters, such as in a nursing home or plant. We think it is more likely that the Commissioner will find COVID-19 cases to be compensable where many people working in the same location are all infected. In those situations, it may depend on whether your Claimant is one of the first to be diagnosed, or is diagnosed later. Compensability will also depend on some of the other facts addressed below.
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