Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first identified in Indonesia in March 2020, and the number of infections has grown exponentially. The situation is at its worst, overwhelming intensive care unit (ICU) resources and capacity. Case presentation: This is a single-center observational case study of 21 confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU from March 20, 2020, to April 31, 2020. Demographics, baseline comorbidities, clinical symptoms, laboratory tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest imaging were obtained consecutively during patient care. We identified 21 patients with confirmed COVID-19 severe infection in our ICU. The mean (± standard deviation) age of the patients was 54 ± 10 years; 95% were men, with shortness of breath (90.6%) the most common symptom. Hypertension was identified as a comorbidity in 28.6% of patients. The most common reason for admission to the ICU was hypoxemic respiratory failure, with 80% (17 patients) requiring mechanical ventilation. Half of the patients (10) died between day 1 and day 18, with septic shock as the primary cause of death. Of the 11 surviving patients, five were discharged home, while six were discharged from the ICU but remained in the hospital ward. Even then, the median length of ICU stay amongst survivors was 18 days. Conclusions: To date, there are no known effective antiviral agents or specific therapy to treat COVID-19. As severe systemic inflammatory response and multiple organ failure seems to be the primary cause of death, supportive care in maintaining oxygenation and hemodynamic stability remain the mainstay goals in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients. © 2021, The Author(s).