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NY health commissioner who oversaw COVID-19 response resigns

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker resigns

"Dr. Zucker has submitted his resignation as commissioner of health," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday at a news conference.

"I think I made it clear, I am looking to build a new team," Hochul said, less than a month after she succeeded former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

Zucker’s statewide and national stature grew in the spring and summer of 2020 while, at Cuomo’s side, he helped explain the medical reasons for social distancing, masks, testing for COVID-19 and the importance of vaccinations. He also was criticized over the past year for his role in Cuomo’s policies involving nursing home deaths during the pandemic.

Zucker will remain in the position until a replacement is found, Hochul said.

Meanwhile, Hochul said she's sticking hard to the Monday deadline when health care workers in state-run facilities must be vaccinated against the virus, and she's coming up with contingency plans in case some resist.

The number of new positives reported today: 393 in Nassau, 535 in Suffolk, 1,520 in New York City and 4,814 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new cases in the state and in New York City this month.

Search a map of new cases, and view more charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

See more coronavirus headlines below.