SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (CBS SF) — Health officials in Santa Cruz County have learned that two recently confirmed COVID-19 cases were attributed to the omicron variant of the virus.

Officials said Tuesday that samples collected on Dec. 16th and 17th last week were identified as the omicron COVID variant. The two individuals are North County residents in their mid-20s.

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The health department’s Twitter account posted about the cases Tuesday.

Officials said an investigation into the cases is underway.

“While we must remain vigilant against COVID-19 and omicron, this new variant is not a cause for panic,” said Santa Cruz County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Cal Gordon in a release. “It is important that we collectively focus on the things we know prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.”

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Individuals are reminded to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID, wear a mask indoors and in crowded settings, get tested if symptomatic or exposed and stay home if sick.

With the holiday season upon us, people should be extra mindful of risks. If people must travel or gather for the holidays:

  • Get tested immediately before visitation or travel, upon return, and again 3-5 days later.
  • Keep group gatherings small in size and duration.
  •  Gather outside or keep rooms well ventilated if indoors.
  •  Remember to always wear a mask whenever indoors with persons from outside your household and ask guests to do the same.
  • Be especially cautious around elderly, immunocompromised, and those who have not been vaccinated. Consider COVID-19 testing before such interactions.

Additionally, Santa Cruz County Public Health has updated how it is conducting COVID-19 contact tracing and is using the State’s Contact Tracing Virtual Assistant. Residents may receive a text message from the number 23393, which is the California COVID-19 Response Team. Contact tracers are attempting to
get important information about a possible case or exposure. Responding to the text will help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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For local information on COVID-19 including on where to get vaccinated or tested go to www.santacruzhealth.org.