HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — With more than 43,000 inmates currently on precautionary lockdown, Texas announced that widespread COVID-19 testing will begin in state prisons.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced that tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests are on the way to the state’s prisons, where inmates have tested positive at a dramatically higher rate than the rest of the state.

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The tests are designed to be self-administered and a dozen “strike teams” are receiving training this week, agency spokesman Jeremy Desel said. It was the second announcement of widespread testing in Texas in as many days: Abbott on Monday ordered coronavirus testing for every nursing home resident and staff member in the state.

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In addition to 652 TDCJ employees, more than 1,700 state prison inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 30 people have died, according to the agency. The sick includes 10 inmates at the Pack Unit near Houston, where sanitary and health conditions are the subject of a federal class action lawsuit.

Texas has more than 41,000 cases and at least 1,100 deaths related to the virus. The true numbers are likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

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