Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday did not rule the nomination of former New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett to replace outgoing Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker in her administration. 

"We have a lot of interesting candidates," Hochul told reporters during a stop at the New York Business Council's annual meeting in Bolton Landing. 

Hochul announced on Thursday the resignation of Zucker, a key figure in former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration. Zucker is expected to remain commissioner and continue to lead the Department of Health while a replacement is found. 

Zucker had come under criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a since-rescinded order that led to the placement of COVID-positive patients in nursing homes in the early weeks of the crisis. 

Hochul took office a month ago and had faced calls for Zucker's resignation. 

Bassett, who is reportedly in contention for the job, is a former New York City health commissioner under Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Meanwhile, Hochul signaled she was not backing down from a looming Monday deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19. 

"I'm still working on the legality of what I need to do," she said. "It's still my hope as the hours tick down people realize they have a responsibility to protect their patients and their fellow workers."