Jared Burks has been separated from his family for the past few weeks as he works with coronavirus patients in the hospital

By Rachel DeSantis
March 30, 2020 11:53 AM
Advertisement
Credit: GoFundMe

A physician on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic whose sweet moment with his separated son went viral has lost his Arkansas home to a tornado.

Jared Burks’ wife Alyssa shared the family’s news on Facebook Saturday, after an EF3 tornado hit the Jonesboro area with winds up to 140 mph, the Associated Press reported.

“We are all safe. Our house is gone. Jared was inside, but he survived by the grace of God,” Alyssa wrote. “[Son] Zeke and I were at my mom’s house. Please pray for us as we begin to pick up the pieces.”

Twenty-two people were reportedly injured in the twister, and two were hospitalized.

A GoFundMe organized for the family has so far raised more than $82,000.

“They are going to need help picking up the pieces so that they can find another place to live, collect their items, rebuild, all while Jared is working and fighting for those who[se] health may be compromised,” says the page, which was organized by Alyssa’s close friend.

The devastating loss came just days after Burks went viral because of a photo that showed him holding his hand up to his young son’s hand through a glass window.

“Look who we finally got to see today! Not going to pretend that I didn’t bawl like a baby when he left to go back to work. We miss him, but we are doing what we have to do. Count your blessings. That’s what’s getting us through this!” Alyssa wrote on Facebook in the post, which has been shared more than 72,000 times.

Burks is a resident physician, and because he’s been working in the emergency room at his hospital, he felt it best to quarantine himself away from his family until the coronavirus outbreak is over, Alyssa told ABC affiliate KATV.

He’d been away from his family for two weeks when the photo was taken, and the snap managed to capture the first time he saw 1-year-old Zeke crawl.

RELATED VIDEO: Couple Surprised With Parade After Wedding Had To Down-Size

“As soon as he saw his dad he just raced to the door. He got up on the glass because I think he wanted him to hold him, so it was sad, it was cute, but it was really heartbreaking, because it’s hard,” Alyssa told the outlet.

The United States now has the most cases of coronavirus in the world, with at least 141,995 confirmed cases and 2,486 deaths as of Monday morning, according to The New York Times.

The spread has prompted officials to encourage social distancing to avoid passing the virus along.

“The more we stay home, the less likely we are to spread it and the less likely [healthcare professionals] are to be affected by it as well,” Alyssa said. “And we need them.”

Meanwhile, GoFundMe.org, the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, has launched a fundraiser that offers support for organizations and individuals affected by coronavirus, the platform said in a statement provided to PEOPLE.

“By donating to the GoFundMe.org general relief fund, the donation supports many individuals who have started fundraisers on GoFundMe related to this pandemic, and organizations dedicated to serving the people,” the company said. “Donations to the general relief fundraiser of GoFundMe.org, a United States charity, are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law, and will broadly support communities impacted by coronavirus.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.