Purpose: To describe the trajectory of respiratory failure in COVID-19 and explore factors associated with risk of invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Materials and Methods: A retrospective, observational cohort study of 112 inpatient adults diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 12 and April 16, 2020. Data were manually extracted from electronic medical records. Multivariable and Univariable regression were used to evaluate association between baseline characteristics, initial serum markers and the outcome of IMV. Results: Our cohort had median age of 61 (IQR 45-74) and was 66% male. In-hospital mortality was 6% (7/112). ICU mortality was 12.8% (6/47), and 18% (5/28) for those requiring IMV. Obesity (OR 5.82, CI 1.74-19.48), former (OR 8.06, CI 1.51-43.06) and current smoking status (OR 10.33, CI 1.43-74.67) were associated with IMV after adjusting for age, sex, and high prevalence comorbidities by multivariable analysis. Initial absolute lymphocyte count (OR 0.33, CI 0.11-0.96), procalcitonin (OR 1.27, CI 1.02-1.57), IL-6 (OR 1.17, CI 1.03-1.33), ferritin (OR 1.05, CI 1.005-1.11), LDH (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.13-2.17) and CRP (OR 1.13, CI 1.06-1.21), were associated with IMV by univariate analysis. Conclusions: Obesity, smoking history, and elevated inflammatory markers were associated with increased need for IMV in patients with COVID-19.