PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) – Three cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant have been identified in Pitt County, bringing North Carolina’s total to four. The other was detected last week in Mecklenburg County, health officials said.

In a news release from the Pitt County Office of Public Information, health officials said the variant was detected by Vidant and the Brody School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Sequencing Laboratory. The lab said it analyzes the samples through a process called sequencing that determines the types of variants.

Dr. John Silvernail, Pitt County’s Health Director, then made the official announcement.

“I am not surprised that the Omicron variant has made its appearance in Pitt County,” Dr. Silvernail said in a news release. “The increase of travel and close gatherings due to the holiday season have made transmission more likely. I anticipate that more cases will be identified over the next few days and weeks to come.”

The person identified with the first case of omicron in Pitt County is a 30-year-old who tested positive for the virus in early December, health officials said in the release.

Officials also said the three cases do not appear to be related at this time and have no further information on the other two cases in Pitt County.