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Sonora Begins Using COVID-19 Detecting Dogs At Testing Site

Enrique Clausen
Gobierno de Sonora
Sonora Health Secretary Enrique Clausen greets a COVID-19 detecting dog at a testing center in Hermosillo.

After months of training, four  dogs are now helping authorities screen for COVID-19cases at a testing site in the Sonoran capital Hermosillo.

As of this week, the four COVID-detecting dogs have entered a trial phase, according to State Health Secretary Enrique Clausen. And so far, he said, they have been extremely effective.

“This is one more strategy to take on COVID-19," Clausen said. "It won’t supplant PCR or rapid testing, but will reinforce our attention to every measure possible.”

During this trial period, the dogs will help sniff out cases of coronavirus at a testing center, though patients will still receive further testing to verify that the dogs correctly detected the virus.

Five more dogs are still in training, and if all nine can pass the trial phase, Clausen said, they will be stationed at the city’s airport, public hospitals and other strategic locations to detect coronavirus cases.

While Hermosillo is a front-runner in this part of the world, he added, researchers across the globe are training sniffer dogs to help detect COVID-19 infections.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.