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Kelsey McNeal/ABC Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy fans will have to wait a little longer to find out Meredith Grey's fate.
On Monday, ABC announced that the long-running medical drama — which was set to return March 4 — will resume its 17th season one week later than originally planned.
Additionally, the show's popular spinoff, Station 19, which has shared many crossovers with Grey's, will also continue its season 4 on March 11.
During the midseason finale in December, Grey (Ellen Pompeo) took a turn for the worse after experiencing hallucinations in past episodes due to COVID-19 complications — including her reunions with late husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and former Grey Sloan intern George O'Malley (T.R. Knight).
Speaking with PEOPLE ahead of the emotional episode, Grey's star Kelly McCreary opened up about the meaning behind Meredith's sudden downfall.
"I think that the idea that Meredith's life is kind of hanging in the balance right now is really symbolic of a lot of things going on right now," she said. "A lot of people's lives are hanging in the balance, whether they're intubated on a COVID table or they've lost a family member who was meaningful to them and supported them. Now they're more vulnerable because of that, or their business failed or they lost their job or they lost their health insurance. A lot of people's lives are in the balance right now."
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The actress has portrayed Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy since the series premiered in 2005
"To me, the takeaway is that in the face of uncertainty and really high stakes situations for people, how can we still have hope, how can we still come together?" she asked. "How can we still help one another? How can we hold people accountable for their actions and get out of this?"
Also during the midseason finale, after two Black teens were admitted to the hospital for injuries suffered due to a fire they started in an attempt to be rescued from their kidnapper, the doctors soon realized the girls may have been victims of sex trafficking.
"Everyone is outraged that this monster kidnapped these girls and that is awful," Maggie Pierce (McCreary) told Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone). "It's awful. But what about the monsters that got us here? The many reasons that Black girls are more vulnerable to being taken in the first place. I want outrage for that. I want outrage for the fact that we are seen as disposable and rarely seen as victims. That Black girls are less likely to be seen as innocent than white girls. Which makes people think that we don't need protecting and that it's okay to hyper-sexualize us in the media."
ABC Grey's Anatomy
"Meanwhile, we are being physically and sexually abused at horrific rates and not just by sex traffickers," she continued. "There are so many things waiting to rob Black women and girls for our freedom and future, our joy. ... Now there's a plague that is killing Black people at a rate that should make everyone outraged. If COVID were killing white people at the rate that it is killing Black people, you better believe that everyone would be wearing masks because it would be the damn law."
Towards the end of the episode, Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) saw the girls' suspected captor and decided to follow her.
Grey's Anatomy will return March 11 on ABC.