Emma Samms opens up about long COVID, return to General Hospital

Posted Monday, October 24, 2022 11:10:56 PM
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Emma Samms is back on-screen as General Hospital's Holly Sutton, but the road back to Port Charles has been a long and painful one for the actress that has played Holly on and off since 1982.

Emma Samms, who has played Holly since the character was introduced in 1982, returned to GH for the first time in over two years when her character was found alive in the boathouse on the Quartermaine estate.

Viewers will recall that Holly was already revealed to be alive via a surveillance camera in an undisclosed location in September 2020 after she had gone missing that same year in Monte Carlo. Peter August (Wes Ramsey) had duped Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers), Holly's ex-husband, into believing that Holly had died, so the news of Holly's sudden reappearance has come as quite a shock to everyone in Port Charles.

While fans are still making guesses as to what exactly Holly has been doing in the two long years since her brief cameo appearance, the actress has been vocal about the reason it took so long to return to the ABC soap. Samms suffers from long COVID or "post-COVID," which the CDC describes as "a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that people experience after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19."

Samms, 62, first came down with COVID-19 in March 2020 when the deadly coronavirus shut down most activities in the United States and led to a nationwide lockdown. The London-born actress recently spoke to People magazine about the limitations she faces now, as well as how GH producers and directors have gone out of their way to accommodate her.

"I told them if I stand still for too long, I might fall over, I might lose my voice if I talk too much," Samms told the magazine. "I sometimes sound 'gaspy.' I said, 'Basically, think senior citizen and not a fit one. Just think in those terms when you are writing for me.'"

According to Samms, she has faced daily battles with fatigue, changes in blood pressure, breathlessness and ringing ears (tinnitus). Data from the Census Bureau states that over 16 million people in the US currently suffer from long COVID.

"It's an ongoing mass disabling event, and it's been frightening to witness," Samms said. "For me, it's been a battle of the wills to accomplish anything."

Exactly how long Samms will stick around Port Charles is to be determined, but the actress, who starred in primetime soap operas Dynasty and The Colbys after debuting on GH, said her return to the GH studios in September was for a month-long shoot.

Samms added that she will return to her and her husband's home north of London once she's officially put a wrap on her latest run as Holly. Samms is married to BBC presenter Simon McCoy, who has been staying with Samms during her time in California.

"I feel really lucky that people are willing to accommodate me in order for me to work," Samms said. "I feel desperately sorry for people who don't have bosses who are as sympathetic."

You can read the full interview with Samms here.

Are Holly and Robert destined to be together? Do you know anyone who is dealing with long COVID symptoms? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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