TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Canines could be the key to getting fans back in the stands at sporting events across Tampa Bay.
Florida International University provost Dr. Ken Furton specializes in the science of dog detection. Furton said right now his efforts are focused on training dogs to sniff out coronavirus among crowds.
“More than 90% of the time, with the correct training, the dog give a correct response to the masks that have COVID-19. There are very, very few false positives,” he told 8 On Your Side.
Canine coronavirus screening is the method the Miami Heat used to welcome fans back to their NBA games in January. Dr. Furton said the dogs will sit down when they detect the virus.
“We don’t know exactly what the odor is dogs are alerting to, but, we do know the COVID-19 virus itself produces an odor,” Dr. Furton explained.
Tampa Bay Lightning officials told the Tampa Bay Times that crowds may be allowed to return to hockey games in a couple weeks.
Dr. Furton said detection dogs could get venues back on track to welcome fans.
“They can screen very large numbers of people whereas if you have to go through, even with rapid tests, it would be very cumbersome to do that at a place like a theme park,” Dr. Furton said.