Somebody contracts a new sexually transmitted disease in Kern County every hour, among the highest disease incidence rates in California – even as state figures reach record highs, according to new figures released Tuesday by the California Department of Public Health.

The state Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Friday that would bring enhanced reporting guidelines and mandate public outreach for valley fever, Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, announced Friday in a press release.

Kicking off Valley Fever Awareness Month in Kern County, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., launched the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force website Tuesday.

Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera made U.S. News & World Report’s new 2017-2018 Best Children’s Hospitals list in the categories of Pediatric Orthopedics (36th), Pediatric Diabetes & Endocrinology (46th) and Pediatric Gastroenterology & Gastrointestinal Surgery (50th).