ATHENS, Tenn. (WATE) — A ninth resident at an East Tennessee nursing home has now died.

Life Care Center of Athens released that information Monday afternoon.

EARLIER: A McMinn County nursing home that has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 announced Friday more residents have died.

Life Care Center of Athens said eight residents have died after testing positive for COVID-19. A total of 71 residents have tested positive for the virus, along with 46 staff members.

Three residents are currently hospitalized, facility officials said, and they are remaining in communication with the facility medical director and local hospitals to ensure their residents are transferred if more acute care is needed; families are also being checked in with frequently.

Twenty-seven residents and 80 staff associates have tested negative for coronavirus. Three tests are pending.

The state launched a mass testing effort for long-term care facilities and nursing homes last week requiring all of the licensed facilities test residents and staff for COVID-19 and report results to the state health department; which officials have said will provide support needed at facilities such as medical equipment and testing supplies.

The state also releases nursing home COVID-19 case counts on its Friday updates; but the daily results are not yet available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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