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Dogs being used to sniff out COVID-19 at large events and airports

The Miami Heat will start using them Thursday to allow fans back in the stands.

TAMPA, Fla. — Starting Thursday, the Miami Heat will begin letting a limited number of fans in the stands and they are doing it with the help of COVID-19 sniffing dogs.

According to a study done in July 2020, the dogs are at least 83-percent effective in spotting positive cases. That's similar to the effectiveness of the rapid test.  

Since then, COVID sniffing dogs were put into action in several airports in other countries and it's believed the accuracy could be even higher than that.

"So if we look at the olfactory sensitivity of a dog they have about 300 million receptors whereas humans only have about 5-6 million," said Dr. Anthony Harris, the Associate Medical Director for WorkCare

Harris says the idea of using dogs to sniff out danger is nothing new. We've seen them in action for years, looking for drugs and explosives. Most recently they've been put to work at airports in Chile and Finland looking for Covid.

 "A K-9's ability to sniff that, not just with covid, but proven out with malaria, proven out with Parkinson's, proven out with different cancers."

Dr. Brittany Busse also works with WorkCare and says it's those proven skills that are now helping all of us get back to doing the things we've missed 

"When you're looking at a large scale event with the capacity that a basketball game has or a super bowl has and the budget that those events have, you can make sure that you are getting the correct dog for the procedure that you need," Busse said.

International Animal Advocate Jean Shafiroff agrees.

 "We want to take every precaution possible so I think the dog sniffing is great, I think the rapid testing is great. Anything we can possibly do to keep people safe at this point in time," Shafiroff said.

So far, there has been no word yet if COVID-19 sniffing dogs will be utilized at Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

RELATED: Florida university trains dogs to detect COVID-19