ALBANY, NY – After more than seven years on the job, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has put in his letter of resignation.

As NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca shows us, Zucker led the Department of Health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but he became a controversial figure in the COVID-19 nursing home death data scandal under former Governor Andrew Cuomo.

{{Kathy Hochul, Governor}} “Dr. Zucker has submitted his resignation, our Commissioner of Health. I agree with his decision.”

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the departure at a press conference in New York City today.

Hochul called Zucker a “dedicated public servant” and thanked him for his work during the pandemic.

In his resignation letter Zucker said he would work to provide a “smooth transition.”

He touted his work in tackling issues like Ebola, Zika and COVID-19.

And he said, “There comes a time when the baton should be passed.”

The New York State Department of Health said it, “thanks the Commissioner for his years of dedicated service and commitment to public health.”

Zucker came under fire for the state’s handling of COVID-19 nursing home death data under former Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay said, “Dr. Howard Zucker’s resignation as Commissioner of the State Department of Health (DOH) was an obvious and overdue step.”

And Barclay hopes whoever replaces Zucker doesn’t have ties to the previous administration or its controversies.

{{Kathy Hochul, Governor}} “He understands that in this time I’ve wanted to take the first 45 days to assemble a new team going forward. That process is ongoing.

Hochul has not yet chosen a replacement, but says that Zucker will stay on until the new person takes over. In Albany, Corina Cappabianca.