Miami Heat to Use COVID-19 Detection Dogs to Screen Fans Attending Games

Miami Heat to Use COVID-19 Detection Dogs to Screen Fans Attending Games

The Miami Heat are implementing a novel safety measure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Jan. 28, when a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend home games at AmericanAirlines Arena, all attendees will be screened by a trained COVID-19 detection dog.

According to the Heat's website, the dogs "have been specifically trained to identify active virus," and all guests — regardless of whether they have received the vaccine or not — will need to undergo screening before being allowed to enter the arena.

A study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in cooperation with the German Armed Forces, previously found that if trained properly, dogs were able to sniff out the disease in the saliva of patients with COVID-19.

RELATED: Finland Plans to Use Coronavirus-Sniffing Dogs at Helsinki Airport to Screen Travelers

In the event that the canine signals that an individual has COVID-19, both that person, as well as any others they might have traveled with, will be denied entrance.

"If you or anyone in your travel party is signaled by a canine, all members of the party will not be permitted to enter the arena," reads a health and safety page on the team's website. "A staff member will notify you of the next steps regarding your ticket purchase."

If guests prefer "not to be screened by the Canine Team," there will be a different testing option available — however, the alternative process can take up to 45 minutes.  

RELATED: 48 NBA Players Test Positive for Coronavirus as League Prepares for Return This Month

Additionally, fans sitting within 30 feet of the court "will be required to undergo an on-site rapid test at the Arena prior to the game and be cleared by our testing provider." 

Face masks will also be available to all guests in attendance. While KN95, N95, cloth and surgical masks have all been approved to be worn in the stadium, bandanas, gaiters and masks with ventilators will not be permitted. 

According to WPLG, the crowd at the arena will be limited to around 1,500 season ticket holders.

"We're far from being in a place where you can pack an arena," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said, according to WSVN. "To be able to start to invite people in and do it in the absolute safest way, I think it's a step in the right direction. Then, we just have to continue to do everything with great vigilance."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Source: Read Full Article