AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The B.1.617.2 ‘Delta’ variant of COVID-19, also known as ‘Delta,’ which was first identified in India, has been detected in Georgia. A spokesperson for the Department of Public Health tells NewsChannel 6 “fewer than 20” cases have been reported in the state.

“The Indian variant does pose a significant risk, but vaccination does protect against that particular variant,” Dr. Phillip Coule, the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of AU Health, says.

The ‘Delta’ variant is considered highly transmissible and is spreading quickly among 12 to 20-year-olds in the U.K. During a press briefing Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the strain “may be associated with an increased disease severity, such as hospitalization risk.” However, research shows Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines protect a person against the variant once they are fully vaccinated.

“I would still encourage people to get vaccinated if you haven’t already, even if you had COVID-19, to boost your immunity to make certain we don’t have variants like that taking hold in the community,” Coule advises.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Augusta are at some of the lowest levels they have been in months. As of Wednesday, 17 people were admitted in Augusta hospitals for COVID-19 — five at Augusta University Health, nine at University Hospital and three at Doctors Hospital.

“I’m quite pleased to see these numbers, especially given that we’ve been through the holiday weekend, and we have not seen any indication that we’re seeing an increase in numbers. I’m becoming quite comfortable with saying we appear to be over the worst of this.”