DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s COVID-19 case numbers are trending in the right direction, despite concerns over a possible post-Thanksgiving surge.

Overall cases and hospitalizations have been on a slow decline since mid-November. State data shows confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped 250 patients from Nov. 23 to Dec. 10.

Many metro counties put mask mandates in place just before the Thanksgiving holiday to try to slow the spread and provide relief to hospital staff.

Dr. Kenneth Lyn-Kew is a critical care specialist with National Jewish Health. He said the reason behind the decline is unclear, but it’s a good sign.

“It feels like we’re only 6 feet underwater versus 12 feet underwater. We feel close to being able to catch that breath, but we know another tug on our leg, another dumping of water, and we could be completely back under,” Lyn-Kew said.

The recent drop in cases has not brought relief to intensive care units across the state. The latest state data show 95% of intensive care unit beds are full, with about 68 available statewide. Lyn-Kew said ICU bed utilization is a lagging indicator with COVID-19.

“You first have to get COVID, then you have to get sick enough to be admitted, then you have to get sick enough to get into the ICU. So there’s a natural couple week lag there,” Lyn-Kew said.

He said ICU beds should start to free up if case numbers continue to trend down.

“We want to see a week on week on week decline before we start to really feel comfortable that we are making good progress,” Lyn-Kew said.