By MARINA VILLENEUVE, Related Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Well being Commissioner Howard Zucker, who was a number one defender of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has submitted his resignation, Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned Thursday.
Hochul thanked Zucker for his service and mentioned he has agreed to remain on till the state names a brand new commissioner.
Zucker, who was appointed by Cuomo as well being commissioner in 2015, was a number one determine within the state’s pandemic response final 12 months because the New York Metropolis metro space turned one of many world’s worst COVID-19 scorching spots.
Cuomo typically praised Zucker for his management, and the 2 appeared collectively frequently on the Democrat’s broadly watched televised briefings.
Below Zucker, the division of well being labored with hospitals statewide to make sure that a surge of COVID-19 sufferers wouldn’t catastrophically overwhelm hospital methods.
However Zucker has confronted heated criticism over the state’s COVID-19 response, notably in nursing properties.
Over 15,800 individuals residing in nursing properties and different long-term care properties in New York have died of COVID-19, in keeping with information launched by the state this 12 months.
Zucker has defended a since-rescinded March 2020 directive that mentioned nursing properties couldn’t refuse to confess sufferers solely as a result of that they had COVID-19.
Zucker and Cuomo have mentioned the directive was wanted to make sure aged sufferers weren’t languishing in hospitals.
Hochul mentioned Thursday that she was following by way of together with her beforehand introduced intentions to rent her personal crew.
“I’m seeking to construct a brand new crew,” Hochul mentioned.
Zucker has additionally confronted criticism from well being care employees who mentioned the state failed to make sure hospitals and nursing properties had sufficient private protecting gear and staffing in the course of the peak of the pandemic.
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