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Missouri first responders eligible for workers comp for COVID-19

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

State first responders who contract COVID-19 will now be eligible for workers compensation.

Gov. Mike Parson and state Labor Department Director Anna Hui said during a daily briefing Tuesday that changes had been made to state regulations to accommodate first responders.

Hui said that before the change, first responders would have had a hard time proving they contracted COVID-19 in the line of work. The new rule presumes any first responder sickened by COVID-19 contracted the virus during their official duties.

You can watch a replay of the news conference in the media player below.

The new rule goes into effect in 10 days but will be applied retroactively to the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Hui said. The rule change will allow first-responders to keep performing their life-saving missions without added worry, she said.

State officials also said Missourians should start receiving enhanced unemployment checks next week. Federal stimulus legislation includes a provision to add $600 per week to checks for anyone eligible to draw unemployment.

Missourians should start receiving those checks as early as April 12, Hui said, and the change will apply retroactively to the last week in March.

Hui said the state has taken more unemployment claims in the past few weeks than during all of 2019. State workers are receiving more than 100,000 calls and emails per day about unemployment, she said.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website said more than 3,000 people have tested positive for novel coronavirus around the state.

The health department said at least 53 people have died related to coronavirus. At least 12 more COVID-19 deaths have been reported since Monday.

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Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.

Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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