Aug. 25 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul wasted little time Wednesday setting a tone for her administration as she implemented a mask mandate in schools, ordered in-person ethics training for state employees and added more than 10,000 deaths to the state's COVID-19 totals.
Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo as governor this week, delivered a firm message to show how she will govern differently by offering more transparency on numerous issues.
For example, she added 12,000 coronavirus deaths to the New York total from state nursing homes that Cuomo was criticized for excluding. The addition brought the official total to 55,400.
Hochul, who was sworn in early Tuesday, said her mask mandate is needed to keep New York from returning to "last year's horrors" when the state led the nation in transmissions and crippled much of the state economy.
In an interview with The New York Times, Hochul said she feels "a heavy weight" of responsibility on her shoulders, being the first female governor of New York, but added that she embraces the opportunity.
"I take it very seriously," Hochul said. "But I want at the end of my terms to make sure that no woman, no girl, no teenager ever feels there's anything they can't do."
Hochul said she hopes to be judged by how she restored New Yorkers' confidence in their government.
"I'm direct," Hochul told the Times. "I have a very focused agenda. And I hold myself to the highest standards.
"I judge myself more harshly than any voter, or any New Yorker, will. Judge me by specific accomplishments in terms of what I announced today and what I'll announce in the State of the State address, and hold me accountable to those ambitions."