'General Hospital' Sets Return Date as Production Resumes After Coronavirus Shutdown

General Hospital resumed production this week, meaning new episodes of ABC's long-running soap are just a few days away now. The coronavirus pandemic forced producers to put a hold on the show back in March and they ran out of fresh episodes back in May. The new episodes will kick off in early August, ABC revealed Thursday.

The cameras began rolling on Wednesday, and the first new episode will air on Monday, Aug. 3, reports Deadline. ABC also released plot synopses for every episode through Friday, Aug. 7. In the first episode, Nelle (Chloe Lanier) is "shaken" by an event, while Jax (Ingo Rademacher) is impressed by Nina (Cynthia Watros). Ned (Wally Kurth) and Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) clash, while Valentin (James Patrick Stewart) meets with Brook Lynn (Amanda Setton). Portia (Brook Kerr) also has an "uncomfortable" encounter.

General Hospital is the longest-running American soap opera on the air now, having debuted back in 1963. It is one of only four soap operas still airing, alongside CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless and NBC's Days of Our Lives. Back in April, ABC chose to air classic episodes on Fridays to help stretch out the inventory of new episodes while production was put on pause. Unfortunately, the new episodes ran out in late May.

Production on the show was expected to resume earlier this month, but filming was pushed back a couple of days. The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful also resumed filming this month. Days of Our Lives has enough new episodes left in the tank that its team does not have to film again until Sept. 1. New Days episodes will continue to air through early October.

General Hospital marked its 57th anniversary in April and has a record 13 wins for the Outstanding Drama Series at the Daytime Emmys. The show was created by Frank and Doris Hursley. When the show marked its 55th anniversary in 2018, executive producer Frank Valentini said he never expected the show to last that long, especially with the daytime TV landscape changing. "Having come off of Guiding Light, As the World Turns, One Life to Live and All My Children being canceled, things looked kind of bleak, so that’s why we sort of poured everything we had into the 50th anniversary. I thought, 'This could be our last party,'" Valentini told Soap Opera Digest. "Thankfully it wasn’t, but you never know."