On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. A pandemic is defined as a global spread of a new disease often applied when viruses are able to infect people easily and spread from person to person in an efficient and sustained way. On March 19, 2020, an executive order and public health order directed all Californians to stay home except to go to an essential job or shop for essential needs to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 among the population.
During the last few months (March, April, May 2020), several executive orders have been implemented to protect working personnel during COVID-19 times. For example, see Executive Order N-62-20:
“1. Any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits if all of the following requirements are satisfied:
a. The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction;
b. The day referenced in subparagraph (a) on which the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction was on or after March 19, 2020;
c.The employee’s place of employment referenced in subparagraphs (a) and (b) was not the employee’s home or residence; and
d.Where subparagraph (a) is satisfied through a diagnosis of COVID-19, the diagnosis was done by a physician who holds a physician and surgeon license issued by the California Medical Board and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.
2. The presumption set forth in Paragraph 1 is disputable and may be controverted by other evidence, but unless so controverted, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is bound to find in accordance with it. This presumption shall only apply to dates of injury occurring through 60 days following the date of this Order. …”