Oklahoma healthcare professionals said they're preparing for the possibility of seeing large numbers of patients with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Tulsa hospitals said while they are providing care to suspected patients with COVID-19 they are also working to prevent the virus from spreading within the hospitals. Ascension St. John Regional President Mike McBride said they have fewer hospitalized patients than they normally would because they have stopped anything considered to be an elective.

"It is well known, as noted by our mayor recently, that there is community spread in Tulsa. We want to minimize the people within the hospital. We want to keep our caregivers and patients safe," said Ascension St. John Regional President Mike McBride

As of Wednesday, the Tulsa Health Department confirmed 27 positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, but health care leaders believe that number is going to keep climbing. "Nature of COVID-19 is what is our greatest fear and what we are protecting against," said McBride.

McBride said hospital staff are following CDC guidelines by wearing personal protective equipment to prevent the virus from spreading to staff and other patients.  

"That typically means goggles masks and gowns," said McBride.

He said Ascension St. John has enough medical supplies and they're prepared to take more patients. He said the number of hospitalized patients on Wednesday was just 60 or 65 percent of what they normally see.

"So, there is a certain calm and a reasonableness among the activity in the hospital so that allows us to spread the work and no one is being over tasked presently," said McBride.

He said they are also making sure doctors and nurses are practicing self-care by eating healthy and exercising while taking care of the influx of patients.