New South Wales— Australia’s most populous state– registered its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday. The state saw 16 deaths connected to the deadly virus.

The 16 people who died Sunday included eight women and eight men aged in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, New South Wales’ Health said. The figure tops the previous record of 15 deaths, which has been reached twice, on September 29 and October 1 last year.

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There were 1,927 people in hospitals, including 151 people in intensive care, according to reports from Associated Press.

The COVID-19 caseload was further burdened over the weekend, sending people into isolation as they wait for a negative COVID result. More than 30,000 new infections were recorded on Sunday in New South Wales.

The state of Victoria has also seen a similar surge in COVID-19 infections over the weekend. On Sunday, about 44,155 fresh COVID infections were reported, however, half of these were from rapid antigen tests.

Greg Hunt, Australia’s Health Minister, said severe cases were low while revealing eight people had died on Sunday.

The surge in omicron related infections has taken a toll on Australia’s food processing and supply chains, with employers saying up to half of their workers have been furloughed after coming into contact with a positive case.

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“Critical workers in the food logistics and manufacturing sectors furloughed as close contacts will be permitted to leave self-isolation to attend work if they have no symptoms of COVID-19, to ensure the state has continued access to essential goods,” New South Wales Health said in a statement on Sunday.

The workers can only leave self-isolation if their employer decides their absence poses a high risk of disruption to the delivery of critical services and if they are not able to work from home.

(With AP inputs)