Paterson, NJ is a city that faces higher rates of infection than other areas, partly because of its higher population density, language barriers, and more low-income residents. The city is fostering innovation through forging a community response that relies more heavily on trusted local residents to perform essential tasks, such as contact tracing and distribution of masks and quarantine kits. Paterson is not a stranger to innovation – it has formed an Innovation Team, based in the city hall, that will deploy a range of strategies, including quantitative and qualitative research and design-based innovation, to bring solutions to the city’s most pressing problems.