HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — All prison inmates in Texas will soon be tested for COVID-19. The state began deploying the tests through strike teams Tuesday.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, nearly 1,446 tests were administered within the first three hours of the new program Tuesday.
The tests are self-administered cheek-swabs. Inmates are being directed to swab the insides of both of their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths.
The tests are oral fluid tests manufactured by Curative, Incorporated. They’re the same FDA approved test kits being used by the United States Air Force. According to TDCJ, clinical studies suggest that these tests have equivalent sensitivity to nasal swabs that require a nurse.
A spokesman for the TDCJ says it will likely take a few weeks to test every state prisoner. Once their tests are submitted, he says, it will take about 24 to 48 hours to get the results.
The TDCJ says every state inmate watched a tutorial video on how to self-administer the test on Tuesday. In addition, the TDCJ says inmates will be monitored to assure they’re administering tests correctly.