TDCJ deploying significant testing of asymptomatic population
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Testing is one key to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to Texas Governor Greg Abbott and with the help of the Texas Department of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) this week is beginning a new expanded testing program.
The agency continues to be agile in its response to the pandemic.
The state has acquired and is deploying tens of thousands of COVID-19 oral fluid tests manufactured by Curative, Incorporated. The tests were given approval in April by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization and will be administered at TDCJ prison units across Texas. These tests are designed to be self-administered by the person being tested.
“These tests are readily available and deployable,” said Bryan Collier TDCJ Executive Director. “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.”
The new tests are being utilized by the United States Air Force. Clinical studies suggest Curative’s oral fluid test has equivalent sensitivity to nasopharyngeal swab tests that require a nurse. Curative has also deployed its oral test kit at drive-thru and other centers in Los Angeles, testing more than 57,000 people at a rate now grown to approximately 5,000 per day.
The agency has 12 strike teams who are being trained to begin testing this week.