Mayor of Paterson Andre Sayegh and The Citizens Campaign Unveil Their Beat COVID Plan


Mayor of Paterson Andre Sayegh and The Citizens Campaign Unveil Their Beat COVID Plan.  


A plan to enlist the community


Mayor of Paterson Andre Sayegh and The Citizens Campaign today unveiled a plan to enlist city residents in defeating COVID-19. It relies on local know-how, taps community resources and draws on community spirit to ensure a safe return to our work and our public lives.  The plan builds on the strong proactive response to the pandemic already underway in Paterson.


The plan addresses the special challenges Paterson as well as other economically challenged cities face.  These include higher population density, language barriers, more low-income residents and greater suspicion and even fear of government, making it imperative that an effective response draws more heavily on trusted local residents. Cities have higher rates of infection than other areas and need more state funding and resources to beat down the virus, Mayor Sayegh and Harry Pozycki, Founder of The Citizens Campaign, both noted.  This has the added benefit of ensuring that cities do not become infection generators for the surrounding suburbs, according to Sayegh and Pozycki.


The Paterson Civic Trust, facilitated by The Citizens Campaign, is working with city officials and other community members on implementing the plan.  The Paterson Civic Trust is comprised of about two dozen, volunteer Civic Trustees who meet in monthly No-Blame Solution Sessions.  These citizen leaders work together to identify cost-effective, evidence-based solutions to the major challenges facing their city.


“Working together with The Citizens Campaign and the Paterson Civic Trust, we will draw on the talents and strong sense of community of Paterson residents to Beat COVID and safely re-open our city,” said Mayor of Paterson Andre Sayegh.


Harry Pozycki Founder of The Citizens Campaign said, “Building upon the solid foundation established by Mayor Sayegh and his excellent team, we will work together with Paterson Civic Trustees to enlist Paterson residents across the board in the contact tracing, mask distribution and other tasks essential to reclaiming our public lives.”


Paterson Civic Trustee Martha Arenciba said, “The Paterson Civic Trustees look forward to working with Mayor Sayegh and his team to ensure a robust and sustained response to Covid-19, better enabling us to protect residents’ health and safety and open our city back up for business.”


The major plan components are outlined below and a copy of the whole plan is attached.


Plan Components:

  • Employing Community Emergency Response Team CERT members and other community volunteers as contact tracers:  Coordinating with the Paterson Department of Health charged with contact tracing, interested CERT members will be enlisted in performing this essential function.  Tracking down all close contacts that were exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and ensuring that they are notified and isolated is an evidence-based public health strategy that experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, consider fundamental to slowing the spread of the virus, once we stop sheltering in place.  While Paterson has assembled an excellent and well-trained cadre of contact tracers, more will be needed as testing increases. This work is mainly done over the phone and the training is accessible remotely.


  • Quarantine/Isolation kit contents will be developed.  These will include disposable silverware, masks, disinfecting cleansers, and other items essential to successful isolation by people that have been in contact with someone who tested positive and are living in more crowded situations.  A plan for acquisition and distribution to economically challenged residents will be developed.


  • Distributing masks to areas in need:  CERT members and other community volunteers will be used to distribute reusable masks, prioritizing economically challenged parts of the community where the highest percentage of people have the highest exposure.


  • Expanding CERTs:  A community-wide effort will be launched to recruit new CERT members with a special emphasis on recruiting retired and unemployed health professionals.


  • Forming a Corona Control Task Force:  To ensure consistent and saturation level communication with residents and businesses, a Corona Control Task Force will be established comprised of the Mayor, other key officials and major stakeholders in the community.. The Task Force will be responsible for ensuring that all communications concerning standardized health protocols and CERTs recruitment going out to the community are consistent and continually reinforced with sufficient repetition that they are driven home.


  • Set standardized community health protocols for individuals and businesses:  Coordinating with the mayor and council, standard health protocols for individuals and businesses will be assembled to ensure that a consistent and amply reinforced message about best practices is sent to better ensure adherence.


  • Establish a Paterson Coronavirus Relief Fund:   In order to pay for any of the marginal costs associated with this plan, including masks, communication materials and CERTs support, cities and towns will establish a relief fund.  Crowd-funding can be used to raise the necessary dollars.


  • The Citizens Campaign and Mayor Sayegh will enlist other New Jersey urban mayors and together deliver a strong message to state officials about specific urban needs. These include the need to calculate state financial assistance and other resources to fight COVID-19 on the number of infections–not over-all population. Additionally, the need for contact tracing to be primarily in local hands in urban areas in order to overcome resident distrust and for local governments to have real time information to be maximally effective in isolation and other preventative measures.





The Citizens Campaign is a volunteer community of problem solvers – government law and policy experts, civic-minded business leaders, citizen journalists, civic leaders, students, teachers, veterans and more – dedicated to educating citizens to the fullness of their political power and developing citizen leaders through leadership raining in government problem solving, as an alternative to today’s dysfunctional politics. They are now building a new citizen-driven and community-based, National Public Service to develop responsible leadership from the bottom up.  For more information, visit

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