Miami Heat utilize COVID-19 detection dogs to screen fans

A study published by the BMC Infectious Diseases illustrated a group of dogs 94% overall detection rate of COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

A study published by the BMC Infectious Diseases illustrated a group of dogs 94% overall detection rate of COVID-19.

The National Basketball Association is not new to finding creative avenues to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among players and staff. The completion of the NBA’s 2020 season in the bubble reported no player or staff infections and provided tremendous encouragement for the 2021 season. However, it was clear the bubble was no long-term solution.
The NBA has since abandoned the bubble for their 2021 season. This means that travel has been permitted from city to city, and fans have returned to various arenas.
Currently, the NBA has 9 franchises that allow a limited capacity of fans in their arena. Screening large numbers of fans has become one of the main operational challenges for these franchises. The Miami Heat have come up with an innovative solution for this problem: COVID-19 sniffing dogs.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Matthew Jafarian, the Heat’s executive vice president of business strategy, stated: “We don’t want to just sit around and hope that sports return to normal. We realized that we’ve got to be innovative, and we’ve got to have strong execution if we want to provide a safe environment.”
According to the Miami Heat, fans will line up in a screening area on socially distanced dots, keeping their hands at their sides. The dogs will walk past each person, sniffing them. If the dog keeps walking, you are clear to enter the arena.
However, if the dog sits next to you, the Miami Heat says, that signals to the handler that it might have detected COVID-19. A staff member will then help you and your party with a refund, and provide additional health and safety information — but you and your party will not be allowed to enter the arena.
A study published by the BMC Infectious Diseases illustrated a group of dogs 94% overall detection rate of COVID-19. During the presentation of 1012 randomized samples, the dogs achieved an overall average detection rate of 94% with 157 correct indications of positive, 792 correct rejections of negative, and 33 incorrect indications.
This research along with others has since encouraged the deployment of detection dogs in airports in Finland, Chile, and the United Arab Emirates.
“The idea of working dogs is certainly not a new one, as they have been supporting the military and law enforcement agencies for decades. We’re just taking that same concept, and a dog’s amazing abilities for detection, and applying it to Covid,” said Jafarian in an interview with Forbes.
COVID-19 detection dogs are just one of the many strategies the Miami Heat are using to mitigate the spread of the disease among fans. Other strategies include mandatory masking, physical distancing, contactless paying, and new food and beverage policies. For more information on these strategies, you can visit the Miami Heat website.

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