Moorlach’s campaign for O.C. supervisor continues as he, wife test positive for COVID-19

John and Trina Moorlach tested positive for COVID-19 recently.
John Moorlach, a former state senator and Orange County supervisor announced Wednesday he and wife Trina tested positive for COVID-19 and were self-isolating in their Costa Mesa home.
(Courtesy of Moorlach family)

John Moorlach’s campaign for Orange County supervisor hit a snag this week, after the former state senator and his wife, Trina, learned Monday they had both tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Moorlach, who turned 65 in December, is one of five candidates actively campaigning in recent months for an open seat on the county board’s 2nd District, to be decided in a March 9 special election.

The former senator told the Daily Pilot Wednesday, that he decided to break the news himself before the rumor mill caught wind of his diagnosis.

Moorlach acknowledged attending a series of campaign events and obligations throughout the past week, including a drive-through fundraiser Tuesday at the Crystal Cove Shake Shack in Newport Beach and a precinct walk on Saturday.

Orange County Board of Supervisors candidate John Moorlach
John Moorlach, a former state senator and Orange County supervisor announced Wednesday he and wife Trina tested positive for COVID-19 and were self-isolating in their home in Costa Mesa.
(Courtesy of John Moorlach)

He said while participants mingled at those events, distancing protocols were observed and that he and campaign members remained masked throughout.

“I did my best to stay socially distanced. [And] I’ve maintained a habit of keeping the mask on when I’m with people as best as possible,” he said, clarifying that he hasn’t been as strict with others who choose not to wear facial coverings.

When he began to feel under the weather last Wednesday, his first thought was he’d finally come down with a cold after a year of no signs of illness.

Feeling slightly feverish by Sunday, Moorlach on Monday went with his wife to be tested. Results confirmed within a matter of minutes they had both been infected with the virus.

“I’d been so healthy for the last year — we followed all the protocols and been so careful,” he said Wednesday. “I’m just busting my brain on the where and how [we caught the virus].”

Now, the former senator is isolating in his Costa Mesa home and notifying those with whom he may have had contact. Aside from the occasional cough, bouts of fatigue and long periods of sleep, Moorlach said he and his wife are feeling fine, given the circumstances, and are focused on recuperating.

“I’m trying to rest as much as I can, but I’m still working on trying to keep up with emails and other requests,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve been invited to several other functions and am having to tell people I can’t come.”

The Moorlachs are among 245,135 county residents to have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic hit last March, according to figures provided Tuesday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

As of Feb. 18, county health officials reported administering 512, 348 doses of the vaccine, with 278,241 — about 54% — going to Orange County residents and employees over age 65.

Moorlach’s age qualifies him to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a Phase 1A group, which includes residents and employees aged 65 and older, along with those at risk of transmission and front line healthcare workers.

This week, state vaccination guidelines opened up to Phase 1B recipients — teachers, food service and grocery workers as well as childcare providers and those who work in emergency services.

Despite having the opportunity to receive a vaccine, the former senator said he has not wanted to jump the line, especially when there are people older than he is who’ve not yet been vaccinated. His wife, Trina, at age 64 is still too young to qualify under current designations.

Moorlach said that should he be elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, he would prioritize providing fast and fair access to those who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while respecting the personal choices of those who decide against it.

But he’s still uncertain whether he, himself, will take it.

“If I have antibodies, if that’s sufficient, then maybe a vaccination won’t be necessary,” he said. “That’s still open for review.”

He opened up about being tested in August, after learning a colleague in Sacramento had contracted the coronavirus. Those in the state Senate were ordered to quarantine, even though Moorlach had tested negative.

Michelle Steel, whose departure from the Orange County Board of Supervisors in January for the U.S. House of Representatives created the 2nd District vacancy, reported Jan. 6 she’d tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

While his recovery is still ongoing, Moorlach said his experience has given him an added understanding of the virus and what must be done to pull through the pandemic.

“It is the real deal,” he said of the virus. “And we should all be as careful and respectful with the protocols as possible with everyone we interact with.”

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