Miami Heat To Use COVID-19 Detection Dogs To Sniff Out Infected NBA Fans
A Malinois dogs looks on as it is taught to find a piece of fabric infected with the COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) bacteria during a training session, on May 13, 2020, in Maison-Alfort, on the outskirts of Paris, as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

The Miami Heat will begin utilizing canines to protect in-house spectators from COVID-19 transmission.

According to The Associated Press, “the Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs at AmericanAirlines Arena to screen fans who want to attend their games.” The outlet reports, the policy is set to take effect before Thursday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, when the Heat hosts its first game of the season with fans present. Attendance will be limited to about 1,500 season ticket holders.

The Heat released a video informing guests of the new procedures and what to expect upon arrival on game day.

“You’ll be directed to the screening area and asked to put any in-hand items in your pockets and place your hands at your sides,” the video says. “At that time, a COVID-19 detection dog will screen everyone in line by simply walking past each person…If a dog signals on you by sitting down, you and your group will be directed out of line and denied entry into the arena.”

The Heat will reportedly require all attendees to complete a health screening questionnaire, wear face coverings, and engage in cashless transactions at the concession stands, where only soft drinks and water will be sold.

“And if a fan is allergic to or afraid of dogs, the Heat are offering an option to skip the dog screening and submit to a rapid antigen test instead,” the AP reported.

“If you think about it, detection dogs are not new,” said Matthew Jafarian, Miami Heat Executive Vice President of Business Strategy. “You’ve seen them in airports, they’ve been used in mission-critical situations by the police and the military. We’ve used them at the arena for years to detect explosives.”

The Heat organization has been exploring using COVID-19 detector dogs for months, reportedly testing the screening process voluntarily for media, staff, and friends and family of players entering the arena. Team officials said last month, “there is a lot of work being done around this globally, and researchers are finding that specially-trained dogs can detect COVID quickly, accurately, and in a non-invasive way.”

The Miami Herald reported:

Using dogs for their sense of smell is not new. Dogs are trained to sniff out bombs and drugs. In some cases they are trained to sniff out a disease, including cancer.

Other countries including Finland, France and Russia have been training dogs to detect COVID. University of Helsinki researchers launched a pilot program at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to check travelers. According to the university, the dogs may be more useful than other COVID detectors because they are able to identify smaller levels of the virus.

According to Purina, a dog’s sense of smell can be anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans’, depending on the canine breed.

One day after the Miami Heat announced its new screening policy, Florida International University said researchers there had trained dogs to detect the virus on surfaces and classrooms to better protect faculty and students from infection.

“We need to fight this thing on all fronts,” DeEtta Mills, FIU’s director of the International Forensic Research Institute, told the Miami Herald. “And this is one way that we can ask our four-legged friends to help us because their keen sense of smell is so much more accurate…and they can smell out this virus.”

FIU’s COVID-19-detecting dogs will reportedly begin working in Florida’s state Capitol soon.

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Miami Heat To Use COVID-19 Detection Dogs To Sniff Out Infected NBA Fans