These patients’ samples were to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serologic test. (James Gathany/CDC 2020)

Santa Cruz County officials announced Tuesday that they have identified two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the county.

Samples collected last Thursday and Friday from two people in their 20s living in the north part of the county tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 that experts say is more transmissible than previous variants.

“While we must remain vigilant against COVID-19 and Omicron, this new variant is not a cause for panic. It is important that we collectively focus on the things we know prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” such as getting vaccinated or a booster shot, wearing a mask indoors or in crowded settings, county deputy health officer Dr. Cal Gordon said in a news release.

More information on COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County and where residents can get vaccinated or tested can be found at www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus.