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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed into law Tuesday evening legislation to provide worker compensation for first responders who contract COVID-19 on the job.
H.B. 4537, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Dan Wolgamott, unanimously passed the state’s Senate and passed with a 130-4 vote in the Minnesota House on Tuesday afternoon.
The law provides a rebuttable presumption for a first responder who contracts COVID-19, confirmed by a laboratory test or diagnosed by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant or advanced practice nurse if a test is not available.
Covered workers include licensed peace officers; firefighters; paramedics; nurses; correctional officers and security counselors employed by the state or at a corrections, detention or secure treatment facility; emergency medical technicians; nurses or health care workers with direct or ancillary COVID-19 patient care; and those required to provide child care to first responders and covered health care workers.
The law is effective immediately and sunsets on May 1, 2021.
The state’s Department of Labor estimates the cost of this coverage to be anywhere from $191 million to $596 million. According to a department spokesman, more than 20 workers comp claims with suspected COVID-19 have been filed, but it’s unknown whether those claims will be paid or denied.
More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.