The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced earlier this month that it has begun an expanded COVID-19 testing program for its inmates.
According to a news release from TDCJ, it is deploying tens of thousands of COVID-19 oral fluid tests manufactured by Curative, Inc. Approved by the FDA in April, the tests are designed to be self-administered.
The tests have been administered at TDCJ prison units across the state. According to TDCJ data, there are 29 inmates in medical isolation at Richmond’s Jester I prison unit recovering from COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus strain.
Overall, more than 2,500 offenders and 790 TDCJ contract staff and employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Since beginning testing, the agency’s strike teams throughout the state have conducted 45,818 tests using oral swabs on inmates and 12,217 on employees.
“Increasing the information available to our medical professionals will help us to further enhance the agency’s ability of stop the spread of COVID-19,” TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier said in a news release.