NASCAR recruits dogs to detect COVID-19 at Atlanta Motor Speedway race
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NASCAR has recruited trained dogs to detect COVID-19 among its essential personnel for the Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway scheduled for Sunday.

This weekend, two teams of dogs from 360 K9 Group will sniff essential workers, including NASCAR officials, race teams and vendors, entering the Atlanta track to determine if COVID-19 is detected, NASCAR announced

If in their 30 seconds of screening they smell the virus, they will alert their handler, and the person will undergo secondary screening from the American Medical Response Safety Team’s lead doctors. 

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Within this trial program, the dogs will not screen Cup Series drivers or the limited number of fans allowed to enter. 

The 360 K9 Group reports that clinical trials have determined dogs can use bio-detection technology to find COVID-19 in humans at 98 percent accuracy.

Tom Bryant, NASCAR’s managing director of racing operations, said in a statement that NASCAR plans to learn from how the procedure goes on Sunday and “figure the ways to best employ this capability moving forward.”

“We think that these dogs and this capability is going to allow us to rapidly confirm that all of those people entering the essential footprint on Sunday ... are COVID-free or not,” Bryant said. “The ability to do that has kind of been the math problem that we have continuously tried to solve since March of last year.”

The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR cup will air at 3 p.m. on Sunday on Fox. 

NASCAR’s deployment of trained dogs comes as officials and businesses are grappling with how to safely have gatherings without spreading COVID-19. 

A dog trainer in Thailand told Reuters that dogs trained have detected COVID-19 at a 95 percent accuracy over six months after one to two seconds of screening.

The NBA’s Miami Heat previously announced in January that it would screen the limited fans coming to the stadium for COVID-19 using dogs, allowing those uncomfortable with that process to take a rapid coronavirus test.